WASHINGTON – Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has apologized, acknowledging that “I must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up,” after a video showed him verbally abusing a driver for the service.
In a message to Uber employees late Tuesday, Kalanick cited the widely circulated video and said he “treated an Uber driver disrespectfully.”
The incident which circulated on social media was the latest hit for the image of the global ridesharing giant, which faces accusations of sexual harassment and a lawsuit contending it misappropriated Google’s self-driving car technology.
In the dashcam video, Kalanick responded to a driver’s complaint by saying, “Some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own shit. They blame everything in their life on somebody else.”
In the message to employees later, Kalanick wrote “To say that I am ashamed is an extreme understatement.”
He added: “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.”
Kalanick also offer his apology to the driver and said the incident shows he needs to work on his leadership.
“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.”
Uber is one of the largest investor-backed start-ups with a valuation estimated at $68 billion, and has operations in dozens of countries and hundreds of cities, even as it battles regulators and an established taxi industry.
Kalanick also faced criticism for agreeing to be part of a business advisory panel for President Donald Trump, but then quit the panel amid a campaign by Trump opponents to delete the application.