Neelie Kroes, the former Dutch Minister and EU Commissioner, is taking on the chairman role of Uber's advisory board. Kroes will advise on issues such as regulation and competition, and behind the scenes is set to do lobbying work among politicians and policy makers.
Uber, on the back of its continued rapid international growth, is increasingly finding itself in hot water as it seeks to navigate a set of complex policy requirements in various jurisdictions. To head over policy road bumps, the board has sought assistance from a group of experts who have extensive experience in various fields.
David Plouffe, the Senior Vice President of Policy and Strategy at Uber, Wednesday announced via a blog post that Neelie Kroes will become the Chairman of the new public policy advisory board set up by the company. The Peruvian Prime Minister Roberto Danino-old and former US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood also joined the new board.
The exact role Kroes will play in the new position, remains unclear. She brings with her extensive government experience, having, among others, been the Minister of Transport, Public Works and Water Management of the Netherlands, the European Commissioner for Competition and, most recently, the European Commissioner for Digital Agenda. As their compensation, the eight members to the new board will receive shares in Uber, which at the end of last year was estimated to be valued $60 billion.
Uber, established in 2009, now has affiliated ‘taxi’ drivers operating in more than four hundred cities in 40+ different countries. The company has faced problems in multiple jurisdiction. In the Netherlands for instance, its UberPop allowed people to book taxi rides by individuals who did not have the requisite taxi license. UberPop was therefore prohibited by the court. In Germany too it has pulled out of Hamburg, Frankfurt and Duesseldorf following similar litigation. And in China Uber is facing sharp competition from Didi Chuxing, which a few days ago received $1 billion in funding from Apple.
Uber recently introduced a new transport option: the car sharing app UberPool. The company hopes the app will allow it to be grow its footprint in more countries. Any problems that may arise with its launch, are probably the first things with which the new advisory board will be engaged.