Uber has hired a City heavyweight as its new UK chair

 
Emma Haslett
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Powers-Freeling will start her role as Uber battles to continue operating in London (Source: Getty)

Uber has confirmed Laurel Powers-Freeling will be its new independent non-executive chair in the UK.

Her appointment to the newly-created role comes as Uber fights to defend its right to operate in London.

Columbia and MIT graduate Powers-Freeling is a senior independent director on the board of challenger bank Atom, and has previously held roles as a senior adviser at the Bank of England, and chief executive of M&S Money.

She has also chaired the National Joint Registry on behalf of the Department of Health, working with health regulators, providers and patient groups to support patient outcomes.

Powers-Freeling joins the company shortly after the departures of Jo Bertram, Uber's top boss in northern Europe, and Christopher Burghardt, its policy chief.

Uber has launched an appeal against TfL's decision to remove its licence in the capital over working conditions for its drivers. Earlier this month the company parachuted its new chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, into the capital for talks with TfL which were hailed as "constructive".

Today Tom Elvidge, its interim general manager in the UK, said Powers-Freeling will bring a "wide range of experience".

"With this new position Laurel will help us with the next phase of changes we want to make to our UK business. As our new global CEO has said, we’re determined to learn from the mistakes of the past and make things right.

Powers-Freeling added: “This is an exciting time to be joining Uber as its first non-executive chair in the UK.

"Uber is... undergoing an important period of change. I look forward to working with the UK business to help [it] manage and implement that change.”

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