This article was updated at 14:20 on Friday 22nd September 2017
Uber has been stripped of their licence to operate in London due to what Transport for London termed ‘lack of corporate responsibility’. The increasing importance of technology to big cities in the UK means that improving corporate culture amongst innovators is a matter of public interest, according to World Wide Technology.
The company, which has first-hand experience of projects to create so-called ‘smart cities’ driven by next-generation technologies, warns that applying innovation within these infrastructures requires a high level of corporate responsibility.
Ben Boswell, EMEA Director at World Wide Technology, comments: “The complexity involved in many smart city projects, some of them using vast amounts of data and impacting thousands of lives, means that technology providers must be held to high standards.
“What we’ve seen with Uber is the unravelling of a company that is based on a toxic culture. Diversity, inclusion and corporate responsibility need to underpin technology innovations. The potential that technology holds for the good of our cities is tremendous: as an industry we need to do more to tackle cultural issues in corporate culture so that consumers’ access to innovation is not restricted like this again.”
Today, TfL concluded that the disruptive ride-hailing app -Uber – is not fit to hold a private hire operator licence in London.
In a statement the TFL said that Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrated a lack of corporate responsibility, which could have security and public safety implications.
Uber has 21 days to appeal, during which it can continue to operate.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said in a statement: “I fully support TfL’s decision – it would be wrong if TfL continued to license Uber if there is any way that this could pose a threat to Londoners’ safety and security.”
General secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association Steve McNamara: “The mayor has made the right call not to relicense Uber.”
“We expect Uber will again embark on a spurious legal challenge against the mayor and TfL, and we will urge the court to uphold this decision. This immoral company has no place on London’s streets”.
The firm has 21 days to appeal the ban, in which time it can continue to operate.
John Colley, of Warwick Business School, Professor of Practice in the Strategy & International Business Group commenting on the news, said: “Poor values ultimately bring leaders and companies down. Uber is already effectively banned from a number of countries including France, Spain and Belgium and now London.”
“There is a very long list of businesses who have suffered for failing to uphold the level of values necessary.”
“Until Uber gets this message then it will suffer lost trade as a result of its deteriorating reputation. Customers do have options in London with Addison Lee and the likes. In the short term expect plenty of positive PR but the prospects of the culture changing while Kalanick is still there are slim.”
“Uber faces litigation and investigation all round the world. Uber’s thrusting style, which many have labelled a macho and sexist culture, is predominantly a consequence of Kalanick’s approach to leadership.”
“Kalanick remains on the board with two of his close supporters. It is his management team and the culture follows his personality. While he is still there the culture is unlikely to change.”
“Entrepreneurs will never leave their ‘baby’ unless they are forced out by investors. Most will cling on despite damaging and even destroying their business.”
“Dara Khosrowshahi has little chance of changing the culture while Kalanick is still there and a strong influence on the company.”