LONDON — Jo Bertram, the top Uber executive in London, has quit.
The company is embroiled in multiple legal battles over everything from its licence in London to the legal status of its drivers, and on Monday the news broke that Bertram — the regional general manager for Northern Europe — is departing.
“While I would like to have announced my move in smoother circumstances, I’m proud of the team we’ve built here and am very confident in their abilities to lead the business into the next chapter,” she wrote in an email to staff. “I’ll work with you in the coming weeks on the best possible transition.”
Bertram has worked at Uber in London for the past four years, originally as the general manager in London. The company grew fast during her tenure — it now has 40,000 drivers in the British capital — but also caused controversy.
In September, London’s transport regulator TfL (Transport for London) refused to renew Uber’s licence to operate, saying the firm is not “fit and proper” to operate. Uber is appealing the decision, and new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is now flying over to meet with regulators in London on Tuesday to discuss the licence.
Jo will “remain with us over the next few weeks to help with a smooth transition,” head of EMEA Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty wrote in a follow-up email to staff. Meanwhile, Tom Elvidge — the general manager for London — will be the acting general manager for the UK.
Here’s the full email Jo Bertram sent to Uber employees:
Subject Line: Thank you for a brilliant journey
As many of you have just heard at our All Hands meeting, I’ve decided to move on to something new and exciting. I’m leaving Uber with great memories, friendships and many amazing experiences, and I’ll never forget the great things that we’ve achieved together as a team.
When I showed up on my first day four years ago, at our tiny serviced office in Baker Street, I quickly realised that this company was special – not only in its ambitions, but also in the way we all pulled together. Whether responding to all sorts of customer questions, buying our own laptops, or distributing mobile phones to our early partner drivers, we all had to roll up our sleeves and figure out how to build a business. I had wanted to experience the pace and craziness of life at a start-up, and Uber certainly delivered!
I’m tremendously lucky to have spent the last four years with you, and it has been breathtaking to see the team grow so quickly. When I joined as General Manager for London, we had just three team members in the city and a few hundred drivers. Together, we then rolled out our services to more than 40 towns and cities across the United Kingdom, where we now serve almost 5 million riders and more than 50,000 drivers.
Since I became Regional General Manager for Northern Europe, I’ve been proud to lead what is now a team of 300 people across 10 countries. I’ve learned a lot during this rapid expansion and, in every market we entered, you could quickly see the impact we had on the way people travelled and lived their lives.
While we often talk about the growth we’ve seen, we can also be proud of the progress our team has made in improving the service for both drivers and riders. Though there’s always more to be done, we’ve taken big strides for a young company. From the introduction of discounted illness and injury cover for drivers, to the roll out of ACCESS for wheelchair users and most recently our Clean Air Plan, there are many initiatives we can be proud of. I know there are many more exciting things to come.
Over the course of this year, I’ve been reflecting on these incredible last four years and what might come next for me. I’ve also discussed this with Pierre and I’m proud that we’ve built this business into more than we ever thought possible. And I’ve realised that taking a nascent company and helping it scale into a major international operation is what I’ve enjoyed most. An exciting new opportunity has arisen that will allow me to apply what I’ve learnt here and I’ll be able to share more details with you soon.
Given some of our current challenges, I’m also convinced that now is the right time to have a change of face, and to hand over to someone who will be here for the long haul and take us into the next phase.
While I would like to have announced my move in smoother circumstances, I’m proud of the team we’ve built here and am very confident in their abilities to lead the business into the next chapter. I’ll work with you in the coming weeks on the best possible transition.
I’m grateful for everything I’ve learned in the last four years. This company and its people will always have a very special place in my heart.
And here’s the response from Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, head of EMEA:
As I just told everyone at the All Hands meeting, we’re all really sad to be losing such a remarkable colleague and friend.
Jo is certainly one the most impressive people I’ve had the pleasure to work with and the success of our business in Northern Europe is in large part down to her leadership. The passion, energy and commitment she puts into her work has made her an inspiring role model and a fantastic leader since she joined Uber four years ago.
Jo will remain with us over the next few weeks in order to help with a smooth transition, and I look forward to working closely with the excellent team she leaves behind.
Tom Elvidge will now report into me and be our acting UK GM while we undergo an internal and external hiring process for that role. Niek Van Leeuwen, GM for the Nordics, Baltics & Benelux, will report into me.
On behalf of everyone at Uber, I wish Jo all the best for her exciting new role and the next stage of her career.
Thanks so much for your contribution over the years, Jo!