Uber's new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, meets with London regulators as the company struggles to keep its taxi license and rivals look to take advantage of the firm's plight. Matt Larotonda reports.
Uber's new CEO has flown to London in an effort to appease regulators threatening the taxi company's very existence in the city. Dara Khosrowshahi has only been in the job for about a month. His arrival coming just a day after sources told Reuters his top lieutenant for northern Europe would resign. SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF CORPORATE DEVELOPMENT, 7IM, JUSTIN URQUHART STEWART, SAYING: "Uber has to grow up its being a stroppy teenager at that moment: highly talented, good ideas but behaving really rather badly whether it's in terms of its financial control its social control internally and come to that its social reputation externally. Everyone knows it's very talented and very helpful and very useful. But until we actually start behaving and come to that stop making money it's still going to find itself in a difficult situation." Uber lost its license on safety grounds after the the city and police said it was too slow to report crimes involving its rides or failing to disclose them entirely. But there's another threat that may loom larger: A workers rights challenge that would let drivers be entitled to benefits like employees. The added expense would force Uber to rethink its entire business model. In the past that model allowed them to undercut livery services like Addison Lee and London's traditional black cabs. Now their foes see a weak spot. SOUNDBITE) (English) COSTAS PITAS, REUTERS UK CORRESPONDENT "So, on one hand Uber has months, potentially years, to operate before its license could go if they keep losing appeals. But on the other hand their competitors are already circling. Very good example of that is Addison Lee, they're the number two in London. They have about three and a half thousand drivers. And they want to take that to four and a half thousand drivers. And they announced that on friday, only a couple of days after Uber lost its license." Reuters estimates London may represent about half of Uber's net sales in Europe.