Kyle Vogt, the serial entrepreneur who founded and led Cruise from a startup through its acquisition by General Motors, has resigned, according to an email sent to employees Sunday night.
The executive shakeup comes a month after the California Department of Motor Vehicles Cruise’s permits were suspended to operate self-driving vehicles on public roads after a October 2 incident who saw a pedestrian – who was initially hit by a person driven by a car and landed in the path of a Cruise robotaxi – ran and was dragged 20 feet by the AV.
The email sent to all employees – and seen by TechCrunch – read:
I have resigned from my position as CEO of Cruise.
The past 10 years have been amazing, and I am grateful to everyone who has helped Cruise along the way. The startup I launched in my garage has provided over 250,000 driverless trips in multiple cities, with each trip inspiring people with a little taste of the future.
The cruise is just getting started, and I believe it has a bright future ahead. You are all good, passionate and strong. I am very sad that I will not work next to you. However, I know you’re executing against 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!
Cruisers, you got it! Regardless of what originally brought you to work in AVs, remember why this job is important. The status quo on our roads is bad, but together we have proven that there is something better around.
Morale at Cruise has been low since the October 2 incident, with employees pointing the finger at poor management that did not prioritize company safety. The dissatisfaction of the employees was more inflamed last week when Cruise suspended employee share sales program for the fourth quarter. Sources who spoke to TechCrunch on condition of anonymity said they could lose more than tens of thousands of dollars because of this decision.
Over the weekend, Cruise returned to that move. Vogt sent an email on Saturday saying that some employees may sell a limited number of shares at a time. Vogt did not provide many details but said the company is making a plan to conduct a new tender offer to provide limited liquidity to the stock unit to mitigate potential tax implications. TechCrunch reviewed the email.
Vogt went on to offer his staff a blanket apology for “Cruise’s current situation.”
This story is evolving…