Uber CEO Vows Jobs to Woo Mayors as Europe Tour Starts in MunichCornelius Rahn and Marie Mawad
Uber Technologies Inc. Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick vowed his company’s car-sharing service will create jobs in Europe and reduce traffic jams as he sets out to win over mayors from Munich to Madrid.
Kalanick said he’ll seek out partnerships with European cities this year. Uber’s approach to governments as it seeks to alleviate regulatory pressure could help the region gain 50,000 jobs this year, he said.
“We want to make 2015 the year where we establish partnerships with new European cities,” Kalanick said at the Digital Life Design Conference in Munich today. “If we can find a regulatory framework that makes this a reality, we can promise jobs and less congestion. The impact we can bring to cities is huge.”
Actions from regulators around the globe have threatened to halt the San Francisco-based company’s expansion. Investors last year valued the startup at $40 billion, partly based on Uber’s growth prospects worldwide. Kalanick’s main challenge will be to win allies in Europe, one of the largest transportation markets.
The company was banned in Spain last month and its services have been suspended amid legal challenges in several U.S. states as well as in countries from India to Germany. The latest setback came last week, when the European Union’s top court denied non-traditional cabs the use of bus lanes in London.
Uber has responded by adjusting its services and setting up new ones, in some cases sacrificing its main business model. For instance, its software now also allows customers to find taxis in several countries, even though that’s a far less profitable business.
Kalanick, who will meet with representatives of the European Commission Jan. 22 as he continues his European tour, must also try to bring the shine back to Uber’s name. It was tarnished by reports of drivers assaulting passengers, and an executive suggesting that the company find and share personal secrets of critical journalists.
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