Uber appoints Barney Harford as its first ever chief operating officer - a Brit and former Orbitz chief executive

Lynsey Barber
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Barney Harford worked with CEO Dara Khosrowshahi at Expedia (Source: Getty)

Uber has appointed its first ever operating chief - a British executive from the travel world who previously worked with the startup's newly installed chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi.

Barney Harford will take on the leadership role which was first floated under former chief and founder Travis Kalanick to keep him in check.

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The former chief executive of travel site Orbitz who is originally from Manchester, will become Uber's second in command after acting as an adviser, and will oversee global operations, marketing, customer support and UberEats, Bloomberg reports.

The pair previously worked together at Expedia, which Khosrowshahi left as boss to take on the challenge at Uber, and which Harford left as president of Asia Pacific before moving to Orbitz.

Harford tweeted: "Thrilled to be joining Uber as COO. Looking fwd to working w Dara again to help Uber achieve its full potential. Uber already does more rides than the world’s airlines combined flies passengers, and provides flexible work opportunities to more people than any other company in the world.

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"Two months of 'try before you buy' as adviser left me impressed by the passion, smarts and thoughtfulness of the Uber team, and hungry to spend more time with them. The Uber team clearly wants to turn a corner. Am honoured to have the opportunity to play a role in making this important and much needed transition."

Under Kalanick, there had been suggestions that the company was looking to hire a woman to fill the role at a time when it was under serious scrutiny over sexual harassment and a toxic work environment for women. Since then, there had also been reports that the role might be scrapped altogether.

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