Kyle Vogt, the serial entrepreneur who co-founded and led Cruise from a garage business to its acquisition and ownership by General Motors, has quit, according to an email addressed to staff Sunday evening and obtained by TechCrunch.
In a separate internal email obtained by TechCrunch, GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra announced the appointment of Mo Elshenawy, executive vice president of engineering at Cruise, as president and CTO. Craig Glidden, a Cruise board member and GM’s EVP of law and policy who was recently appointed as Cruise’s chief administrative officer, will remain in that position. Jon McNeill, a member of GM’s board of directors, has been named vice chairman of the Cruise board. McNeill, who recently joined the Cruise board and formerly served as Lyft’s chief operating officer and Tesla’s president, will now serve alongside Cruise Board Chair Mary Barra. A Cruise spokeswoman confirmed Barra’s email in a statement.
As of Sunday, no one had been appointed as CEO.
The executive shuffle comes less than a month after the California Department of Motor Vehicles suspended Cruise’s permits to operate self-driving vehicles on public roads following an October 2 incident in which a pedestrian was run over and dragged 20 feet by the AV after being hit by a human-driven car and landing in the path of a Cruise robotaxi. A video obtained by TechCrunch a day after the incident showed the robotaxi aggressively braking and coming to a stop over the woman.
According to the DMV’s decision of suspension, Cruise concealed around seven seconds of camera evidence showing the robotaxi attempting to pull over and then dragging the victim 20 feet.
Vogt’s email to all staff, which TechCrunch obtained, reads:
I have resigned from my role as Cruise’s CEO.
The previous ten years have been incredible, and I’m grateful to everyone who has assisted Cruise along the way. Over 250,000 autonomous trips have been provided by the firm I founded in my garage across numerous cities, with each ride providing consumers with a small taste of the future.
Cruise is still in its early stages, and I feel it has a bright future ahead of it. You are all intelligent, determined, and resilient. I’m very sorry that I won’t be working next to you any longer. However, I know you’re following a solid multi-year technological plan and an interesting product vision, and I’m excited to see what Cruise has in store for the next chapter!
You’ve got this, cruisers! Whatever brought you to work on AVs in the first place, remember why this work is important. The current quo on our roads stinks, but we’ve demonstrated that something far better is just around the corner.
Vogt also used similar terminology in a statement posted on the social media site X on Sunday evening. With this message, he concluded the social media conversation. “In terms of what’s next for me, I intend to spend time with my family and experiment with new ideas.” Thank you for a fantastic ride!”
Barra’s internal email, which arrived roughly 15 minutes after Vogt’s, expressed gratitude for his “tremendous vision, passion, and dedication over the past decade.” The email went on to say:
“We understand and respect his decision to resign as CEO, and we wish him the best in his next chapter.” We remain committed to Cruise’s vision and the revolutionary power of its technology as we work to make transportation safer, cleaner, and more accessible.”
“The board and I also want you to know that we are intensely focused on setting Cruise up for long-term success,” Barra added later. This requires the public’s faith. As we try to rebuild confidence, safety, transparency, and accountability will be our guiding principles.”
Employee morale at Cruise has been low since the October 2 tragedy, with employees blaming weak management for failing to prioritise safety at the corporation.