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This trained physicist is helping grow Uber Eats

September 26 / Global

How did Emilio Zunino go from being a theoretical physicist to online gaming to now being our London-based United Kingdom & Ireland (UK&I) General Manager of Central Territories? Below we chat with Emilio about how he took his passion and curiosity for solving tough challenges and intellectual curiosity across three very different industries.


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

“I am an Italian living in London with my wife, Laura, and young son, Teo. I have a background in theoretical physics, which I love for its intellectual challenges, deep problem solving, and my passion for nature and the universe. 

An avid gamer, after university I worked in the online gaming industry for 7 years before joining Uber. One of my biggest challenges was to explain to my grandma my move from physics to online poker! It is a decision I still cherish, as through this experience I learned how to transfer my skills to the business world and I started managing projects and people, something that would be recurring in my career.”

You’ve been at Uber for over seven years. How has your role evolved?

“I joined Uber to revolutionize mobility in Italy, and I ended up scaling food and grocery deliveries across UK&I. Fair to say I got a bit sidetracked, but my journey at Uber has been both exciting and rewarding. I had the opportunity to run driver operations on the rides side both in Italy and the UK, before joining Uber Eats at a very early stage to launch and grow the best food delivery app across hundreds of UK&I markets. 

I had plenty of opportunities to grow and develop my skills wearing many hats and tackling operational, entrepreneurial, and commercial challenges.”

What does your day-to-day as a General Manager look like?

“I love how much my job allows me to work with so many people across Uber. I am lucky enough to lead a large organization with commercial and operational roles, and I spend a lot of my time empowering and coaching my team to ensure they are successful and engaged. 

Since I look after several geographies across UK&I, I am based in London but I end up traveling almost every week. I think it’s important to be able to connect in person with my remote teams as frequently as I can. Every time I visit an office, we run a full day of business reviews, working sessions, and social events to move the business forward while strengthening our connections. 

Finally, I work on defining the strategy for my portfolio and team.”

How are you building and growing Uber Eats in the UK today?

“Our territories teams are responsible for the Uber Eats app in specific geographies, making sure we have the best restaurants and grocers available on our platform and the best experience for our couriers and customers. 

Restaurants are a nuanced player in our marketplace. That’s why we spend most of our time working with restaurant owners to strike mutually winning partnerships and ensure they are just as successful online as they are in-store. From identifying the best up-and-coming restaurants to signing exclusive partnerships or offerings, to solving operational issues for our restaurants, we cover it all!”

What are some of the key lessons you’ve learned at Uber?

“While working on marketplace rides and delivery marketplaces, I learned the importance of customer obsession and incremental gains. I believe that fantastic logistics and operations are key parts of Uber’s success, and I grew to learn that spotless execution is what matters most in a fast-growth business. 

Working at Uber across many geographies and verticals, I’ve also learned the importance of change. Some people are afraid of or resistant to change, when in fact progress and innovation can’t be achieved without change. For instance, I’ve had over 10 different managers at Uber and I learned something interesting and different from each of them.

But my biggest lesson by far has been about building a positive, inclusive culture, enabling a diversity of thought, and fostering innovation. I’ve learned how to be a better ally to historically underrepresented groups, how to effectively open discussions on this topic, and what tactics to employ to hire in a balanced and equitable way.”

Any tips for people looking to join Uber Eats?

“Be bold and bring your best ideas to the company. Help us make the cities we serve a better place. Great minds don’t think alike is one of our cultural values — don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo, and show us your best self and what you can bring to our team.

Look for the right role for you! At Uber there are several business verticals and large functional teams, and depending on your skills and passions you should seek the right place for you. Identifying the right role and dedicating all your energy to pursuing it will greatly increase your chances to join.

Ask questions. We’re a friendly bunch, so don’t hesitate to reach out to our recruiting team and our hiring managers and interviewers to ask questions. Whether it’s about the Uber business, our culture, your interview process or anything else, we will be happy to help.”

Interested in joining us? Explore open roles on our Uber Eats team →