Uber chief Travis Kalanick has apologised, 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 on 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.

Fawzi Kamel has been driving for Uber since 2011. When he picked up the company's boss on a Sunday in February, he wanted to let him know how things were getting tougher for drivers.

In the dashcam video obtained by Bloomberg News , the Kamel argues that Kalanick is lowering fares and claims he lost $97,000 because of him. "I'm bankrupt because of you."

Kalanick lashes back. "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," he said, then slamming the door.

In the message to employees later, Kalanick wrote "To say that I am ashamed is an extreme understatement".

Kalanick also offered 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 valued at $68bn, and has operations in dozens of countries and hundreds of cities.

The video is the latest in a string of bad PR for Uber.

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.

In January more than 200,000 people deleted their accounts after the company was accused of undermining a New York taxi union strike protesting against Trump's immigration ban.

In December, it pulled its self-driving cars off the road in San Francisco after the California Department of Motor Vehicles said they were operating illegally.

And just last month a former software engineer at Uber claimed one of her managers propositioned her for sex. 

Kalenick ordered an investigation into the allegations calling sexism "abhorrent".

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