Cruise Co-Founder Resigns Following CEO, Departs GM Self-Driving Unit

Key Points

  • 🚗 Cruise, GM’s self-driving unit, faces the departure of its second founding executive, chief product officer Daniel Kan.
  • 🤝 Kan’s resignation follows Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt, who resigned earlier in the week.
  • 🚑 The resignations come after a Cruise robotaxi incident in October where a pedestrian was struck, leading to the revocation of Cruise’s permit and subsequent investigations.
  • 📉 Cruise has faced challenges, including laying off hundreds of contractors, pausing production of the self-driving van, and suspending an employee equity program.
  • 🌐 The company is under scrutiny for “omitting” and “misrepresenting” details about the accident, facing investigations at both state and federal levels.
  • 💼 Cruise co-founder Kan expressed confidence that the company would regain its previous ride volume.

In an ongoing story that began with a Cruise robotaxi hitting a pedestrian last month, the General Motors (GM) self-driving unit will now see its second founding executive depart from the company.

After Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt apologized and announced his resignation, fellow co-founder and chief product officer Daniel Kan has followed suit, announcing his resignation via a Slack message seen by Reuters on Monday. Neither Kan nor Cruise shared additional details about the executive’s departure, though he noted that the company had at one point been offering as many as 10,000 rides per week.

“I know Cruise will achieve that again soon,” Kan wrote in the message.

The news of both executives leaving follows an October 2 incident in which a Cruise robotaxi struck and dragged a woman who had been hit by another car, before stopping on top of her. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) immediately revoked Cruise’s permit to operate driverless vehicles following the incident, and the company has since recalled almost 1,000 of its vehicles and paused production of the Origin self-driving van through parent company GM.

The California DMV later said that Cruise “omitted” and “misrepresented” critical details about the accident, and the company is also facing an investigation on the federal level from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Cruise has also hired a third-party legal firm and a technology consultancy to review its response to the accident and product.

The company has reportedly also laid off hundreds of contractors who were previously operating the company’s test vehicles across California, Arizona and other states, according to some sources in a recent Reuters report.

Last week, Cruise also suspended an employee equity program which allowed employees to re-sell shares to GM, though after some backlash, Vogt announced in an apology over the weekend that the company would allow limited share sales during the current quarter.

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