Thursday 21 December 2017

SAUDI ARABIA: Uber Is Positive, Barney Harford Appointed Chief Operating Officer

The head of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, its top sovereign wealth fund, said on Wednesday that the outlook for ride-hailing firm Uber was positive and the company’s revenues had doubled since the PIF invested in it.

Yasir al-Rumayyan, speaking at a news conference, also said Uber’s new board and management were excellent.

The PIF, which has assets totaling over $220 billion, paid $3.5 billion for a stake in Uber in mid-2016, part of a financing round that valued the company at $62.5 billion.

Uber has suffered a series of blows this year, including the loss of its London license, the departure of executives amid controversies involving allegations of sexual harassment, and issues surrounding data privacy and business practices.

The European Union’s top court ruled on Wednesday that Uber should be classified as a transport service and regulated like other taxi operators.

The investment in Uber was part of a shift in the PIF’s strategy toward high-profile investments designed to boost its returns while securing technology and market share in strategic industries that help to develop the Saudi economy.

Meanwhile,Uber Technologies Inc said said on Wednesday that the ride-hailing firm has appointed Barney Harford as chief operating officer, as the company looks to fill positions left vacant after key staff quit in recent months.

Harford, a former chief executive officer of online travel website Orbitz, will join Uber on Jan.2, Uber said in a statement.

Uber is facing a host of problems, including allegations of sexual harassment, data privacy violations, and a criminal investigation over alleged trade-secrets theft.

New CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who replaced co-founder Travis Kalanick in August, has been critical of past practices and vowed a new era of compliance.

Tourism Observer

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