Uber's eyeing City heavyweight Laurel Powers-Freeling for UK chairman role amid London licence row

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Uber is reportedly close to hiring a chairman for its UK business following its spat with Transport for London over licensing and has someone specific in mind.

Laurel Powers-Freeling a high-flying businesswoman with a pedigree that spans the banking industry has emerged as the top job candidate, according to Sky News.

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Powers-Freeling led the finance side of retail giant Marks & Spencer and has been a top executive at Lloyds TSB, American Express and Prudential.

​Currently she is chairman of Sumitomo-Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe (SMBC), the Japanese financial services firm. She is also on the baord at digital challenger bank Atom and private bank C Hoare & Co and has held similar advisory roles at the Bank of England.

Uber is hiring for the new position in the wake of Transport for London deciding not to renew its licence in what was seen as a surprise move by the transport regulator. The plans for the role have been in place since before the decision, however.

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It also comes after the departure of one of one of Uber's top boss on northern Europe, Jo Bertram, who was closely involved in establishing the startup in London and the rest of the UK and the exit of the region's top policy chief Christopher Burghardt.

Uber's appeal, during which it can still operate in the capital, is due to be heard around the end of the year or early next.

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