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Uber hires an Amazon executive to head up its UK unit as fight to keep London license continues

  • Jamie Heywood, U.K. director of electronics at Amazon, will join Uber next month as its new regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe.
  • Uber said Heywood's leadership will be "crucial" as the firm implements changes in Europe.
  • Uber faces a number of challenges to how it operates across Europe.
Martin Ollman | Getty Images

Uber named its new U.K. boss Monday amid an ongoing battle with London's transport regulator over its license to operate in the city.

The ride-hailing giant said Jamie Heywood, U.K. director of electronics at Amazon, would join Uber next month as its new regional general manager for Northern and Eastern Europe.

London's transport authority, Transport for London (TfL), decided to strip Uber of its license late last year, but the company has been fighting to keep the license through an appeal. Currently, Uber is still able to operate in Britain's capital.

Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, vice president and regional general manager of Uber in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said that Heywood would bring a "wide-range of international experience in both regulated industries and scaling fast-growing businesses" to the ride-hailing giant.

"Jamie's leadership will also be crucial as we implement major changes across Europe including more safety features, improvements for drivers and a new approach to partnering with cities," Gore-Coty said in a statement Monday.

Challenges in Europe

Uber faces a number of challenges to how it operates across Europe.

TfL holds that Uber failed to meet regulatory requirements when it comes to reporting serious criminal offences involving drivers and obtaining checks on drivers. Earlier this year, Uber introduced a number of safety measures in the U.K., including reporting serious incidents to the police and providing private hire vehicle licensing details to users.

Last year, Uber lost an appeal on its classification of drivers as self-employed, after a U.K. judge ruled that drivers should be treated as formal workers of the company. The ruling was seen as a test for the so-called gig economy, where self-employment and freelancing work is becoming prevalent.

Meanwhile, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled later that year that Uber is a transportation firm rather than a digital company, and that it should be regulated as such.