Uber CEO "ashamed" over leaked driver argument

Travis Kalanick says he needs to "grow up" as Uber's woes continue...

Uber CEO "ashamed" over leaked driver argument

Travis Kalanick, CEO and founder of Uber, speaks during the Institute of Directors annual conference at the Royal Albert Hall, London. Picture by Anthony Devlin PA Archive/PA Images.

Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick has apologised after video emerged of him getting into a foul-mouthed argument with one of the company's drivers over falling pay rates.

The Californian businessman has admitted that he is "ashamed" of his actions and that he needs to "grow up" and get help following the publication of dashcam footage showing him angrily dismissing the driver's concerns.

Kalanick, who had been travelling with two women, was coming to the end of his Uber journey when driver Fawzi Kamel asked him why the ride-hailing app has slashed the prices customers pay for every mile they travel. 

Kalanick dismissed the driver's concerns as "bulls***", saying:

"Some people don't like to take responsibility for their own s***. They blame everything in their life on somebody else."

In the footage, obtained by Bloomberg, the Uber boss is seen leaving the car and slamming the door behind him.

The driver said he left Kalanick a one-star rating after the exchange.

 

In a statement on Uber's blog, Kalanich wrote:

By now I’m sure you’ve seen the video where I treated an Uber driver disrespectfully. To say that I am ashamed is an extreme understatement. My job as your leader is to lead…and that starts with behaving in a way that makes us all proud. That is not what I did, and it cannot be explained away.

It’s clear this video is a reflection of me—and the criticism we’ve received is a stark reminder that I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up. This is the first time I’ve been willing to admit that I need leadership help and I intend to get it.

I want to profoundly apologize to Fawzi, as well as the driver and rider community, and to the Uber team.

—Travis

The footage and subsequent apology comes as Uber's image takes a battering due to a number of scandals in recent months, including employee allegations of sexual harassment, cut-throat management and a toxic work environment.

Kalanick also caused controversy after he accepted an invitation to be a part of a business advisory group for President Donald Trump.

His involvement in the group sparked a backlash from the app's customers, with the hashtag #DeleteUber going viral on Twitter, and he stepped down soon afterwards.

On top of this, Google's parent company Alphabet recently announced it is suing Uber for allegedly stealing the technology it is using to create self-driving cars – a claim Uber denies.

Additional reporting by IRN