The whistleblower behind a leak of over 124,000 internal Uber files to a group of media organizations including The Guardian has come forward as a former lobbyist for the company.
The Guardian named the whistleblower as Mark MacGann, who worked at the company from 2014 to 2016 as its top lobbyist in Europe.
“I regret being part of a group of people which massaged the facts to earn the trust of drivers, of consumers and of political elites,” MacGann told The Guardian in a report revealing his identity.
MacGann said Uber had “sold people a lie” in convincing governments to change taxi laws on the basis the company would bring economic benefits.
“The company approach in these places was essentially to break the law, show how amazing Uber’s service was, and then change the law. My job was to go above the heads of city officials, build relations with the top level of government, and negotiate. It was also to deal with the fallout,” he said.
MacGann took an active role in some company decisions that he now decries, and told The Guardian he had been “drunk on the Kool-Aid” during his tenure there, but had slowly grown disillusioned after he left the company.
The documents MacGann leaked form the basis of a series of reports on Uber’s past activities. So far the documents have revealed the company had a secret “kill switch” to block law enforcement from accessing data and that cofounder and former CEO Travis Kalanick dismissed driver safety concerns.
In a statement to The Guardian an Uber spokesperson said: “We understand that Mark has personal regrets about his years of steadfast loyalty to our previous leadership, but he is in no position to speak credibly about Uber today.”
Kalanick stepped down as CEO in 2017 and was succeeded by current CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
Uber said in a statement to The Guardian that it recently reached a settlement with MacGann for $550,000 which it said resulted from MacGann claiming he was owed a bonus.
“It is noteworthy that Mark felt compelled to ‘blow the whistle’ only after his cheque cleared,” Uber said in its statement.
The Guardian reports MacGann contacted the paper five months before his settlement with Uber was reached. He also said he has yet to receive the full payout.
Uber and MacGann did not immediately respond when contacted by Insider.