Uber is under fire across the Continent. It has also notched some wins. Meet the new cuddly Uber, which wants to be partners, not adversaries, with Europe’s disgruntled regulators.
That was the message from Frances Frei, the ride-hailing app’s new senior vice president of leadership and strategy, in an interview with POLITICO last Friday. The Harvard Business School professor was brought on to help Uber recover from a series of sexism and diversity scandals and address the company’s reportedly toxic work culture. Her hire came just ahead of the recent departure of former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.
Frei, who has been working in Uber’s San Francisco and Amsterdam offices to address issues of diversity and inclusion, said she wanted to build a “clear and coherent understanding of the way forward” for the company. That shift will also affect the way Uber navigates its public policy efforts around the world. The focus will be on local collaboration and on building culturally sensitive partnerships with regulators and constituents.
“Lobbying gets a bad name, but lobbying in its purest form is partnering,” she said. This kind of approach “will deliberately be the focus from now on” in Europe’s regulatory capitals, she said.
Uber is under fire across the Continent. It has also notched some wins, including this week, when an appeals court in the Czech Republic reversed a decision preventing Uber from operating in Brno, the nation’s second-largest city. Frei also stressed the importance of addressing labor concerns among drivers and regulators.
- Does Uber suddenly want to be friends with regulators?