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Uber's UK head to step down amid London licensing fight

[LONDON] The head of Uber Technologies' UK business is stepping down amid a contentious fight with London regulators who are threatening to ban the company in the British capital.

Uber said the decision to leave by Jo Bertram, the general manager in charge of Uber's business in the UK and Northern Europe, isn't related to the recent decision by transportation authorities to revoke Uber's license in the city. Bertram said she's leaving for a new job outside Uber.

The departure comes as Uber chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi is scheduled to visit London Tuesday to meet with transportation authorities in an attempt to negotiate a deal that keeps Uber in operation.

Uber said Tom Elvidge, the general manager in charge of London, will take over running the rest of the UK business until a permanent replacement for Bertram is found.

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Bertram, who led a team of 300 across 10 countries, started at Uber four years ago, helping get the company started in London with a few hundred drivers.

It's now the company's largest European market with more than 50,000 drivers and nearly 5 million riders who use it at least once every 90 days.

The leadership transition comes at a challenging moment. The company is facing a potential ban after London transportation authorities revoked its license, saying it wasn't a "fit and proper" business.

The regulators criticised the company's safety record and said it actively tried to avoid government oversight.

While the company disputed the specific finds, it's apologised for its aggressive business practices and is seeking to find a workable compromise with the city.

"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," Ms Bertram said in an internal email.

Ms Bertram said she will remain at the company for several weeks during a transition.

"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," she said.