Cruise co-founder and CEO Kyle Vogt resigns – TechCrunch

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Kyle Vogt, the serial entrepreneur who co-founded and led Cruise from a startup in a garage to its acquisition and ownership by General Motors, has resigned, according to an email sent to employees Sunday evening that was viewed by TechCrunch.

In a separate internal email, also seen by TechCrunch, GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra announced that Mo Elshenawy, Cruise’s executive vice president of engineering, will serve as president and CTO for Cruise. Cruise board member and GM EVP of Legal and Policy Craig Glidden, who recently took over as Cruise’s chief administrative officer, will continue in that role. GM board member Jon McNeill has been named Cruise executive vice chairman. McNeill, who recently joined the Cruise board and was previously chief operating officer at Lyft and president of Tesla, will now serve alongside Cruise CEO Mary Barra. A statement from a Cruise spokesperson confirmed Barra’s email.

As of Sunday, no one had been named for the CEO post.

The executive shakeup comes less than a month after the California Department of Motor Vehicles approved Cruise’s permits to operate self-driving vehicles on public roads following an Oct. 2 incident in which a pedestrian who was initially struck by a human-driven car , had been hit, had landed in the path of a cruise robotaxis – was run over by the AV and dragged 20 feet. A video viewed by TechCrunch a day after the incident showed the robotaxi braking aggressively and coming to a stop above the woman. The DMV’s suspension order said Cruise withheld about seven seconds of video footage that showed the robotaxi then attempting to stop and then dragging the woman for 20 feet.

Vogt’s email, sent to all employees and viewed by TechCrunch, reads:

I have resigned from my position as CEO of Cruise.

The last 10 years have been great and I am grateful to everyone who has supported Cruise along the way. The startup I founded in my garage has delivered over 250,000 driverless rides across multiple cities, with each ride inspiring people with a small taste of the future.

The cruise is still in its early stages and I believe it has a great future ahead of it. They are all brilliant, motivated and resilient. I am deeply saddened that I will no longer be working with you. However, I know you’re executing on a very strong, multi-year technology roadmap and exciting product vision, and I’m excited to see what Cruise has in store for the next chapter!

Cruiser, you got this! Regardless of what originally drew you to work on AVs, remember why this work is important. The status quo on our streets sucks, but together we have proven that something much better is coming soon.

Vogt also posted a message on the social media site X on Sunday evening that used similar language to the internal email. He ended the social media thread with this message: “What’s next for me, I plan on spending time with my family and trying out some new ideas. “Thanks for the great ride!”

Barra’s internal email, sent about 15 minutes after Vogt sent it, thanked him for this “tremendous vision, passion and dedication over the last decade.” The email continued:

“The Cruise Board understands and respects his decision to step down 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 strive to make transportation safer , cleaner and more accessible.”

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

Morale at Cruise has been low since the Oct. 2 incident, with employees pointing the finger at poor management for not prioritizing safety at the company. Without commercial permits to operate in San Francisco and an internal decision to phase out its driverless fleets in other states, the company laid off contract workers, exacerbating the malaise.

The first layoffs included contract workers whose job was to clean, charge and maintain the vehicles and respond to customer inquiries. Not all temporary workers employed by a third party were laid off. However, further layoffs are expected at the company, which employs around 4,000 full-time workers.

Employee dissatisfaction was further fueled last week when Cruise suspended its employee stock sale program for the fourth quarter. Sources who spoke to TechCrunch on condition of anonymity said they could incur a loss of tens of thousands of dollars as a result of this decision.

Over the weekend, Cruise backed out of that move. Vogt sent an email Saturday saying certain employees could sell a limited number of shares on a one-time opportunity. Vogt did not provide many details, but said the company was developing a plan to conduct a new tender offer to provide limited liquidity of the stock units and mitigate possible tax implications. TechCrunch read the email.

Vogt apologized to his employees across the board for “the situation Cruise finds himself in today.”

Dan Kan, Vogt and Cruise’s chief product officer, founded the autonomous vehicle company in 2013. The two originally focused on kits that could be used to retrofit a vehicle and turn it into a self-driving car. The startup soon switched to a different business model. GM took a stake and acquired the company in March 2016 with cash and stock valued at more than $1 billion.

Previously, Vogt co-founded, a website that allowed anyone to broadcast videos online, Twitch, a live streaming platform, and Socialcam, a mobile social video app. Twitch was acquired by Amazon in 2014 for $970 million, and Socialcam was acquired by Autodesk in 2012 for $60 million.