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Uber picks up ex-Amazon director, weeks before appeal over London licence

Uber has snapped up an Amazon UK director as its new northern Europe chief, just weeks ahead of an appeal hearing over its cancelled London licence.

The ride-hailing app has announced the appointment of Jamie Heywood as the new regional general manager for its Northern and Eastern Europe operations, which looks after Uber's business in a dozen countries including the UK.

Mr Heywood will join the company next month, having most recently served as the director of Amazon's electronics division in the UK, covering both the retail and marketplace businesses.

He previously spent time in the telecoms industry, working as managing director of Virgin Mobile in the UK between 2011 and 2014, and helping launch the company's business in India as well as Orange's Thailand division.

He also spent three years as chief executive of Virgin Mobile in China.

Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, vice president and regional general manager of Uber in Europe, the Middle East & Africa, said: "His wide range of international experience in both regulated industries and scaling fast-growing businesses will be invaluable for the next phase of Uber's development. 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."

Mr Heywood replaces Jo Bertram, who resigned from her post in August last year, according to a filing at Companies House, three weeks before the surprise decision by Transport for London (TfL) not to renew Uber's private hire licence in London. The company denied that the move was driven by Uber's licensing issues.

But Ms Bertram - who was in the role for four years - said in October: "Given some of our current challenges, I'm also convinced that now is the right time to have a change of face, and to hand over to someone who will be here for the long haul."

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