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Uber picks up former lawmakers for a smoother ride with governments

The ridesharing app's new public policy advisory board includes an ex-US Secretary of Transport and Europe's former digital czar.

Former EU digital czar Neelie Kroes will now speak up for Uber.

Stephen Shankland/CNET

Uber has recruited some heavyweight former lawmakers to help smooth the road between the ridesharing company and governments.

The company has formed a new public policy advisory board including a former US Secretary of Transportation and the EU's former digital czar. Remunerated with equity in the company, they will meet twice a year and will throw their weight behind the sometimes controversial app, which has clashed with many regulators as it launches in new territories around the globe.

From the US, the eight-person board includes Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation from 2009 to 2013, and Melody Barnes, an adviser to Barack Obama and director of the Domestic Policy Council from 2009 to 2012.

Joining them is Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for Digital Agenda from 2010 to 2014. During her time as a figurehead of technology in Europe she promoted startups and advocated technological standardisation across the continent, including the scrapping of phone roaming charges.

The board also includes Saudi Arabian luxury retail CEO and private equity fund founder Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud and Roberto Danino, a former prime minister of Peru.