Uber Technologies Inc. has hired a well-known banking veteran in a bid to add gravitas to its embattled U.K. business.
Laurel Powers-Freeling has been appointed as the ride-hailing company’s U.K. independent non-executive Chair, Uber said in a statement Friday. She was previously senior adviser to the Bank of England and Chief Executive Officer of Marks & Spencer Group Plc’s financial services business.
From 2010 to 2013 Powers-Freeling was also a non-executive director at the BBA-Libor Ltd, part of the British Bankers’ Association unit that had a key role in overseeing setting the London interbank offered rate.
“With this new position Laurel will help us with the next phase of changes we want to make to our UK business,” said Tom Elvidge, interim general manager of Uber’s U.K. 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’s appointment comes at a difficult time for Uber in the U.K. The world’s largest startup is appealing a London regulator’s decision to revoke the car service’s license, and is seeking more settlement talks. Last month, the manager in charge of the U.K. and Northern Europe, Jo Bertram, said she was stepping down after four years at the company.
Executives have been keen to flag the company’s new conciliatory approach, with new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi flying to London in an attempt to smooth relations with transport regulators. Uber’s appeal against the Transport for London’s decision to revoke its license is set to be held on Dec. 11.
Beginning her career with roles at McKinsey and Morgan Stanley, Powers-Freeling held senior roles at Lloyds Banking Group Plc and American Express Co’s European business. She is currently an independent director at U.K. online bank Atom Bank, and a director at C. Hoare & Co., one of the country’s oldest private banks.
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