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GM’s Cruise Fires Key Leaders Amid Robotaxi Investigations

Robotaxi operator Cruise has fired nine key leaders following an initial review into the company’s handling of an October 2 accident that left a pedestrian badly injured in San Francisco.

Why it matters: The General Motors-owned startup is trying to restore public trust in the wake of the incident, which led it to suspend operations and launch several internal investigations.

What they’re saying: “Today, following an initial analysis of the October 2 incident and Cruise’s response to it, nine individuals departed Cruise. These include key leaders from legal, government affairs, and commercial operations, as well as safety and systems,” a Cruise spokesperson said.

  • “As a company, we are committed to full transparency and are focused on rebuilding trust and operating with the highest standards when it comes to safety, integrity, and accountability and believe that new leadership is necessary to achieve these goals.”
  • “The personnel decisions made today are a necessary step for Cruise to move forward as it focuses on accountability, trust and transparency,” a GM spokesperson added in a separate statement. “GM remains committed to supporting Cruise in these efforts.”

Details: The departing executives include Chief Operating Officer Gil West, Head of Government Affairs David Estrada and Chief Legal Counsel Jeffrey Bleich, a source confirmed to Axios.

Backstory: Cruise has come under fire for not fully disclosing to California officials what happened when one of its driverless cars hit a pedestrian who had first been struck by a separate, human-driven car.

  • It was eventually reported that the Cruise robotaxi dragged the injured pedestrian 20 feet as it attempted to pull over after the accident, causing additional injury.
  • Cruise cofounders Kyle Vogt and Daniel Kan resigned in the wake of the incident, while GM dispatched its chief counsel and head of public policy, Craig Glidden, to oversee Cruise’s legal and policy, communications and finance teams.
  • Jon McNeill, a board director for both GM and Cruise, was also named Cruise’s vice chairman.

What to watch: The independent legal investigation and a separate safety probe are continuing.

  • Final reports are not expected until the first quarter of 2024, GM CEO Mary Barra said recently.

Source : AXIOS