GM's Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt resigns after firm warned it will lay off staff after 950 robotaxis were recalled when one hit woman and dragged her 20 feet down a San Francisco sidewalk as losses mount to $2billion this year
- Kyle Vogt, who founded Cruise in 2013, has resigned from the under fire robotaxi firm following a string of incidents
The CEO of General Motors' robotaxi unit Cruise, Kyle Vogt, has resigned amid a car recall following an incident in which a woman was dragged 20 feet down a San Francisco sidewalk by one of its vehicles.
Vogt, 38, offered little in the way of explanation, stating simply 'I have resigned from my position' in an email to staff viewed by Reuters on Sunday. Vogt founded the under-fire business in 2013.
In the message, Vogt took responsibilities for Cruise's failings which includes running up loses of around $2 billion. The San Francisco sidewalk incident prompted a recall of 950 of the company's vehicles.
'As CEO, I take responsibility for the situation Cruise is in today. There are no excuses, and there is no sugar coating what has happened. We need to double down on safety, transparency, and community engagement,' he wrote in the email, reported exclusively by Reuters.
Cruise's woes are also a setback for an industry dependent on public trust and the cooperation of regulators. The unit had in recent months touted ambitious plans to expand to more cities, offering fully autonomous taxi rides.
Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt (pictured) confirmed to employees over the weekend that he had resigned his role at the company
Shocking footage posted to social media shows the victim's feet poking out from under the white vehicle underneath the orange Cruise logo
Vogt founded Cruise in 2013 however his role has been under extreme scrutiny following a string of incidents
Vogt's resignation came after GM and the board at Cruise increased their scrutiny of its leadership.
The Cruise board met on Nov. 13 and the next day named GM general counsel Craig Glidden as Cruise's chief administrative officer. The board also said it would retain a third-party safety expert to assess safety operations and culture.
GM CEO Mary Barra said in an email to employees seen by Reuters that Glidden will serve as Cruise's co-president with Mo Elshenawy, who will also become chief technology officer.
'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,' she said.
Former Tesla President Jon McNeill, a GM director since 2022, was named vice chairman of the Cruise board alongside Barra, who is the chair.
Cruise competes with Alphabet´s Waymo in deploying autonomous vehicles and had been testing hundreds in several cities across the U.S., notably its home of San Francisco.
In October, the California Department of Motor Vehicles ordered Cruise to remove its driverless cars from state roads, calling them a risk to the public and saying the company had misrepresented the safety of its technology.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in October opened an investigation into pedestrian risks at Cruise and the Cruise board hired law firm Quinn Emanuel to review Cruise management's responses to regulators investigating the Oct. 2 accident.
Footage taken by the Cruise vehicle and viewed by NBC, revealed how the car hit the woman and threw her into the path of the taxi which then ran her over. The sedan driver then fled the scene.
The vehicle initially stopped but still hit the person, before it then pulled to the right to get out of traffic, dragging the woman about 20 feet.
She was pinned under one of the Cruise vehicle's tires and was critically injured.
Footage posted to social media shows the victim's feet sticking out from under the white vehicle while a first responder checks on her.
Police officers attempted to communicate with the trapped woman, with one officer kneeling on the pavement and shining a light under the car.
A witness, Austin Tutone, told the San Francisco Chronicle how he saw the woman trapped underneath the Cruise car and tried to reassure her as they waited for first-responders.
'I told her, "The ambulance is coming" and that she'd be okay. She was just screaming' he told the outlet.
In September, two Cruise driverless taxis blocked an ambulance carrying a critically injured car crash victim, who later died in hospital.
'The last 10 years have been amazing, and I'm grateful to everyone who helped Cruise along the way,' Vogt wrote in his email. In a post on social media platform X shortly after his resignation, he added: 'Cruise is still just getting started, and I believe it has a great future ahead.'
Barra has told investors Cruise could generate $50 billion in revenue by 2030. The operation lost more than $700 million in the third quarter of this year on its plans to expand operations to 15 U.S. cities.
Firefighters said that two of the driverless cars stalled, causing the ambulance to be delayed on August 14.
When crews arrived at the scene, the only lane they could use was blocked by two Cruise cars that had stopped moving, the fire department said.
Cruise hit back, claiming they were not to blame for the delay, which is the latest in a string of problems for the driverless cars which has included one car colliding with a fire truck.