Uber CEO Kalanick Apologizes for Disrespectful Conversation with One of His Drivers

CEO of leading taxi company Uber, Travis Kalanick has apologized in an e-mail sent to his staff for his rather disrespectful conversation with one of his drivers, Fawzi Kamel. Kalanick was headed to the Super Bowl Sunday riding in the back of an Uber Black early in February in the company of two female friends when he got into an heated argument with the driver about the falling cab fares. In a dashboard recording of the conversation which the Kamel turned over to Bloomberg, one of his female companions appeared to ask him that she heard that Uber was having a tough year. Kalanick replied saying “I make sure every year is a hard year. That’s kind of how I roll. I make sure every year is a hard year. If it’s easy I’m not pushing hard enough.” This degenerated into a heated argument between Kamel and Kalanick over Uber’s fares with Kamel subsequently submitting the video to Bloomberg to explain the plight of Uber drivers.

In his apology, Kalanick says:

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.

The video which has since gone viral and gained close to 2 million Youtube views within a day has caused a major PR disaster for the company. It will be recalled that last week, Uber found itself in the middle of a sexual harassment firestorm and just last month, a #DeleteUber campaign went viral as Kalanick had to resign himself from a spot on President Trump‘s Business Advisory Council.


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