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2017 Was Not a Good Year for Uber’s Travis Kalanick

Last updated: January 22, 2018
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Uber has seen its share of ups and downs over the last few years. The ride sharing app jumped to the top of the ride sharing/hailing market when it debuted in 2012, but a series of legal disputes with drivers and rising competition from its biggest rivals have taken Uber down a few pegs lately. One of the worst public relations stumbles for Uber happened in early 2017 when CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick was caught on film berating one of his drivers. Kalanick would eventually resign as CEO for that fiasco and other PR nightmares caused by what some have described as his brash behavior. Now, a new tell-all Bloomberg article chronicling Kalanick’s downfall reports that Kalanick reportedly settled with the driver for a huge sum of cash to make amends. Given his fall from grace, however, it seems that gesture was too little too late.

The 2017 incident began when Kalanick got into an Uber Black car driven by long-time driver Fawzi Kamel. When it became known that his passenger was the Uber CEO, Kamel brought up what he saw as a disproportionate pay structure between Uber and its drivers and occasional fare cuts. That didn’t sit well with Kalanick, who then began berating Kamel, telling him that his complaints are just another sign that “some people don’t like to take responsibility for their own shit!”

When Kalanick saw the video in a meeting with fellow executives, Bloomberg reports, he fell to his knees and called himself a terrible person. Recently revealed accounts of the incident reveal that Kalanick paid Kamel $200,000 in Uber stock to apologize for the incident.

In the wake this incident and several high-profile lawsuits with drivers and even Google, shareholders eventually demanded that Kalanick resign. While he still sits on Uber’s Board of Directors, insiders told Bloomberg that Kalanick is basically now a persona non grata in the company he helped to start. Pride goeth before destruction.