Kyle Vogt, the co-founder and leader of Cruise, a company that he guided from its startup phase to its acquisition by General Motors, has stepped down from his role, as conveyed in an email circulated to the company’s employees on Sunday evening.
This departure follows a recent executive shakeup, occurring just one month after the California Department of Motor Vehicles suspended Cruise’s permits for operating self-driving vehicles on public roads. The suspension was prompted by an incident on October 2, where a pedestrian, initially struck by a human-driven car and subsequently dragged 20 feet by a Cruise robotaxi, led to heightened scrutiny and regulatory actions.
The email sent to all the company employees reads —
“I have resigned from my position as CEO of Cruise.
The last ten 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.
Cruise is still just getting started, and I believe it has a great future ahead. You all are brilliant, driven, and resilient. I’m deeply saddened I won’t be working next to you anymore. However, I know you’re executing against a very strong, multi-year technology roadmap and exciting product vision, and I’m thrilled to see what Cruise has in store in its next chapter!
Cruisers, you’ve got this! Regardless of what originally brought you to work on AVs, remember why this work matters. The status quo on our roads sucks, but together we’ve proven there is something far better around the corner.“
Employee morale at Cruise has taken a hit following the incident on October 2, with many attributing the downturn to inadequate management that failed to prioritize safety within the company. The discontent among employees escalated last week when Cruise abruptly halted its employee share-selling program for the fourth quarter. Confidential sources disclosed to TechCrunch that individuals wishing to remain anonymous expressed concerns about potential financial losses, with estimates reaching tens of thousands of dollars due to this unexpected decision.
During the weekend, Cruise reversed its stance on the share-selling program. In an email sent by Vogt on Saturday, he announced that certain employees would have a limited opportunity to sell shares as a one-time exception. While not delving into specific details, Vogt mentioned that the company was formulating a plan for a new tender offer aimed at providing liquidity for restricted stock units, thereby alleviating potential tax implications.
Vogt extended a broad apology to the entire staff for “the situation Cruise is in today.”
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