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Wilson ends Uber journey to take up head of legal role at Fremantle

In-house stalwart and GC Powerlist UK regular Matt Wilson is leaving his position as associate general counsel (GC) for EMEA at Uber to assume the GC role at British TV production multinational Fremantle.

Wilson, who will join up with his new employers in August, calls time on a frenetic six-year stint at fast-growing Uber, which has been beset with thorny legal and regulatory issues throughout his tenure.

Among the key challenges Wilson faced was the launch of UberPool; obtaining regulatory change in countries across EMEA; launching Uber Eats; and working to achieve renewal of Uber’s private-hire operator licence in London after TfL initially refused to renew it in September 2017.

The trickiest legal issue was perhaps saved for last for Wilson however, as in February the UK Supreme Court ruled that under the Employment Rights Act 1996, Uber drivers are workers and therefore in line to receive the national minimum wage, annual leave entitlements and other legal protections afforded to workers. Commentators have emphasised the ‘huge implications’ of the decision, the fallout of which is sure to be a serious challenge for Wilson’s successor.

Summarising his time at Uber, Wilson said: ‘I’m thoroughly grateful to everyone at Uber for six fantastic years. It’s been a real privilege to build and lead our legal teams in EMEA and APAC, and work with everyone across the business to grow Uber from a start-up to the publicly listed organisation it is today. Having spent the last four years in Amsterdam, it’s the right time for our family to come back to the UK and I can’t wait to get started on a new adventure at Fremantle.’

A widely-respected in-house figure, one fellow technology GC said of Wilson in the 2018 GC Powerlist: ‘Matt Wilson at Uber is someone who has to deal with very thorny and constant legal issues. You would go a long way to find someone who has a more difficult job.’ He is widely credited with successfully managing the rapid growth of Uber’s in-house team, which went from a headcount of zero to 75 in just five years between 2015 and 2020.

Wilson commented on his upcoming role: ‘This is a fascinating period of development for the industry and a truly exciting time to join a business I have long-admired. Fremantle is at the heart of popular culture the world over and continues to lead innovation in entertainment. I am looking forward to joining the team and having the opportunity to contribute to Fremantle’s growth.’

Fremantle’s most well-known productions include the various global iterations of the ‘Idols’, ‘Got Talent’ and ‘The X Factor’ talent competitions.

For an in-depth review of Wilson’s in-house career to date, see his 2018 profile