Travis Kalanick apologises to employees, says he needs to lead and behave better

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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has been on the back foot since the start of this year. Beginning with the boycotts Uber faced for its CEO being a part of Trump’s advisory board, and the recent human resources debacle, Travis seems to be in the eye of a storm.

After firing Amit Singhal, Travis has now sent a letter of apology to his employees. In the letter he has admitted that he must fundamentally change as a leader and grow up. The apology came after a video of Travis arguing with a driver at the end of a ride went out on Bloomberg.

An article in Recode reported:

“Before Kalanick exits the vehicle, the driver starts talking to the CEO about the status of the company’s UberBlack premium service. The conversation quickly got heated when the driver, Fawzi Kamel, asked Kalanick about why he dropped the prices for the service.”

The letter has also been published on the company’s blog. The letter says:

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

In the video, Fawzi complained of the decreasing prices for the UberBlack service. Kalanick however denied this. But Fawzi countered saying he had lost $97,000 from leasing a car that meets the company’s standard of premium service.

Recode reports that shortly after that Kalanick exploded and said,

“You know what, some people don't like to take responsibility for their own shit. They blame everything in their life on somebody else. Good luck!”

This isn’t the first time a founder has been in the eye of a storm for speaking his mind. While this video was shot while Travis had taken a ride in a personal capacity, a video of Paytm’s Founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s private office party was leaked and he had to retract a few statements he made there.