Uber CEO Travis Kalanick found himself in hot water after a video surfaced of him arguing with an Uber driver over lowering fares. Ultimately no chief executive wants to find themselves in this position, especially publicly. The question is whether this is enough for Kalanick to get the boot.
The public outrage from this was very real. Twitter even had a trending hashtag #deleteuber, prompting a fair amount of users to delete the app and convert to competitors. Some were even calling for Kalanick to step down from his position in Uber.
Although Kalanick has not stepped down, this is not the first time he has succumb to social pressures. Kalanick stepped down from President Trump’s economic advisory council, siding with those that dislike and disagree with the president. Kalanick said that his participation was not intended to be read as an endorsement of Trump’s policies.
In a sense this did not reflect well for Kalanick and, as a result, for his company.
So far 2017 has not been a good year for Uber as the company is getting it on all sides. Earlier sexual harassment issues came to light when a former Uber engineer came forward with stories of rampant sexual harassment and errant human relations oversight.
Kalanick sent the following note to Uber employees on Tuesday:
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.