Uber has hired Tony West as its chief legal officer, filling a critical void at the ride-hailing giant as it continues to battle back a series of investigations by the U.S. government and a major lawsuit from one of its chief corporate rivals.
West arrives at Uber after serving as the general counsel at PepsiCo, and before that, as an assistant attorney general at the Department of Justice under former President Barack Obama. The DOJ is one of the very agencies probing some of Uber’s business activities.
Still, it is the first major hire for Uber’s new chief executive, Dara Khosrowshahi, who announced the appointment in an email on Friday to staff — a note that also acknowledged the litany of legal challenges facing the company around the world.
“As a former federal prosecutor and senior Department of Justice official in the Obama Administration, [West is] well equipped to handle the investigations into our past practices," Khosrowshahi said. "And at Pepsi, he has emphasized diversity on his team and across the company."
“But perhaps most importantly, Pepsi has been named one of the world’s most ethical companies 10 years in a row,” he continued. “Under Tony’s leadership, I’m confident that we will one day join this list.”
At the moment, Uber faces a number of federal probes — from its use of technology to avoid local U.S. regulators to allegations that company officials bribed authorities in China in order to operate there.
Meanwhile, the ride-hailing company remains locked in a major legal war with Waymo, the self-driving car unit at rival Alphabet, which contends that one of its former executives stole critical trade secrets and put them to use at Uber.
West replaces Salle Yoo, who had served as Uber’s top lawyer since 2012. Officially, he is set to start next month.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.