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Uber Eats delivers Arevalo as European boss

By Mark Kleinman, City Editor
Uber's Latin American chief is to lead the company's fight against food delivery rivals Deliveroo and Just Eat by taking the helm of its European restaurant app business.
Sky News understands that Rodrigo Arevalo was named as Uber Eats' regional general manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa in an internal announcement on Monday morning.
The appointment of Mr Arevalo will come five months after his predecessor, Jambu Palaniappan, resigned to join a venture capital firm.Mr Arevalo's key markets will include the UK, where Uber Eats is embroiled in a fierce turf war with other well-funded rivals.The restaurant delivery app recently announced plans to launch in 100 more cities across the EMEA region, with a presence in the UK which already numbers 40 cities.In EMEA, the food delivery market is worth an estimated $28bn annually, a figure which is expected to grow, putting pressure on the fixed cost bases of major restaurant chains.Under his stewardship in Latin America, Mr Arevalo oversaw its rapid growth to become Uber's biggest and most profitable region globally.In the internal announcement, a copy of which has been seen by Sky News, Mr Arevalo said the Uber Eats business was "thriving in one of the most competitive markets globally for food delivery, having experienced tremendous growth over the past 18 months".In the UK, the ride-hailing service continues to face regulatory obstacles, with an appeal against a ban by Transport for London in process.The company, which drafted in a new chief executive to replace Travis Kalanick last year, has created a UK board to improve corporate governance amid criticism of its approach to safety and driver authorisations.
The company has hired Laurel Powers-Freeling, a former banker, to chair its UK operations with Roger Parry, an experienced media executive, recently joining as a non-executive director.Those moves came after Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, accused the company of "failing to play by the rules", although relations have thawed since then as Uber has announced a series of measures to improve accountability.In EMEA, Uber Eats partners with more than 16,000 restaurants, with growth in orders of 450% in the last 12 months, according to the company.The proposed ban on Uber's ride-hailing service sparked a furious backlash from many Londoners, with more than 700,000 people signing a petition to allow the company to keep operating despite its failure to report a string of criminal offences perpetrated by its drivers.Uber now has about 40,000 drivers in London‎, and is used by about 3.5 million customers, but its rise has sparked the most significant backlash to date against a major champion of the "gig economy".Permanently losing its ability to operate in London - which is now viewed as a remote prospect - could threaten its ability to preserve its licences in other cities around the world, where it has also come under intense regulatory pressure.In turn, that would affect Uber's chances of attaining a premium valuation in a stock market flotation that Mr Khosrowshahi has indicated is likely within the next year or so.
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Since TfL's decision to ban the company, a number of senior executives including Jo Bertram, Uber's northern Europe chief, and European head of policy Christopher Burghardt have resigned.‎Uber declined to comment.
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