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‘Exactly what Uber needs now’: Beleaguered app hires PepsiCo’s Tony West as chief legal officer

Just a month after Uber drafted in Hogan Lovells to launch a legal challenge to Transport for London’s (TfL) decision to not renew its private hire licence, the US-based ridesharing company has hired Pepsico’s Tony West as its new chief legal officer.

In a company email, Uber’s chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said that West, who served as PepsiCo’s executive vice president for public policy and government affairs, general counsel (GC) and company secretary, was ‘exactly what Uber needs now’.

‘He has public company experience leading a global team of lawyers across more than 200 countries. As a former federal prosecutor and senior Department of Justice official in the Obama administration, he’s well equipped to handle the investigations into our past practices. And at Pepsi, he has emphasised diversity on his team and across the company.’

Khosrowshahi added: ‘Perhaps most importantly, Pepsi has been named one of the world’s most ethical companies 10 years in a row. Under Tony’s leadership, I’m confident that we will one day join this list.’

Before working for the Obama administration West was a partner at Morrison & Foerster for over seven years. He will begin the role next month and replaces Uber’s current chief legal officer and GC Salle Yoo, who confirmed in September that she would be leaving the company after five years.

West will have his hands full as the company is facing several legal challenges over the coming months, including a legal challenge to TfL after the transport provider revoked Uber’s licence to operate in London in September. According to TfL, Uber’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences and how medical certificates are obtained were among the reasons it came to the decision.

‘Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications’, the statement read.

Hogan Lovells regulatory partner Charles Brasted is advising Uber, and has instructed Tom de la Mare QC of Blackstone Chambers.

The firm has previous history advising the company, as it acted for Uber last August on its legal challenge against new guidelines proposed by TfL. The regulations included written English tests for drivers and insurance for drivers for the entire time that their vehicle is licensed. In that matter, TfL was represented by its in-house team and instructed Martin Chamberlain QC of Brick Court Chambers.

Paul Dacam, who has since retired from the firm, led for Hogan Lovells and instructed de la Mare QC alongside Hanif Mussa of Blackstone Chambers.