Electric Mobility

Autonomous Driving Pioneer Kyle Vogt Steps Down as CEO of Cruise

“I have resigned from my position as CEO of Cruise.”

SMEBRNovember 20, 21:10
Kyle Vogt Steps Down as CEO of Cruise

Kyle Vogt, the serial entrepreneur who played a key role in founding and guiding Cruise from its startup phase in a garage to its acquisition and ownership by General Motors, has stepped down. This information was conveyed in an email sent to employees on Sunday evening, as reported by TechCrunch.

“I have resigned from my position as CEO of Cruise. The last 10 years have been amazing, and I’m grateful to everyone who helped Cruise along the way. The startup I launched in my garage has given over 250,000 driverless rides across several cities, with each ride inspiring people with a small taste of the future,” said Kyle Vogt.

Mary Barra, GM's Chair and CEO, has revealed that Mo Elshenawy, the executive vice president of engineering at Cruise, will take on the roles of president and CTO for Cruise. Craig Glidden, a Cruise board member and GM’s EVP of legal and policy who recently assumed the position of chief administrative officer at Cruise, will continue in that capacity. Jon McNeill, a GM board member and former COO at Lyft and president of Tesla, has been appointed vice chairman of the Cruise board. McNeill, who recently joined the Cruise board, will now work alongside Cruise Board Chair Mary Barra. A statement from a Cruise spokesperson has confirmed the contents of Barra's email.

“The Cruise Board understands and respects his decision to resign as CEO, and we wish him well in his next chapter. We continue to believe strongly in Cruise’s mission and the potential of its transformative technology as we look to make transportation safer, cleaner and more accessible.”

As of Sunday, the position of CEO had not been filled, and no individual had been appointed to assume the role.

Barra later emphasized that “the board and I also want you to know that we are intensely focused on setting Cruise up for long-term success. Public trust is essential to this. As we work to rebuild that trust, safety, transparency and accountability will be our north stars.”

The recent restructuring in leadership follows less than a month after the California Department of Motor Vehicles suspended Cruise's permits to operate self-driving vehicles on public roads. This suspension was prompted by an incident on October 2, where a pedestrian, initially struck by a human-driven car and subsequently ending up in the path of a Cruise robotaxi, was run over and dragged 20 feet by the autonomous vehicle. A video depicted the robotaxi making an abrupt stop over the woman. The DMV's suspension order mentioned that Cruise had withheld approximately seven seconds of video footage, revealing the robotaxi attempting to pull over and then dragging the woman 20 feet.

Kyle Vogt and Cruise's chief product officer, Dan Kan, established the autonomous vehicle company in 2013. Initially, their focus was on developing kits that could retrofit existing vehicles and transform them into self-driving cars. However, the startup later shifted its business model. GM expressed interest and ultimately acquired Cruise in March 2016 in a deal that included both cash and stock, with a total value exceeding $1 billion.

Prior to founding Cruise, Vogt had co-founded Justin.tv, a platform enabling users to broadcast video online. Additionally, he played a role in founding Twitch, a live-streaming platform, and Socialcam, a mobile social video app. Amazon acquired Twitch in 2014 for $970 million, and Autodesk acquired Socialcam for $60 million in 2012.

The quotes used in this piece were extracted from TechCrunch.