Cruise co-founder and CEO Kyle Vogt resigns

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Kyle Vogt, the serial entrepreneur who co-founded and led Cruise from a startup through its acquisition by General Motors, has resigned, according to an email sent to employees Sunday evening.

The executive shakeup comes a month after the California Department of Motor Vehicles suspended Cruise’s permits to operate self-driving vehicles on public roads after an October 2 incident that saw a pedestrian – who had been initially hit by a human-driven car and landed in the path of a Cruise robotaxi – run over and dragged 20 feet by the AV. 

The email sent to all employees — and viewed by TechCrunch — reads:

I have resigned from my position as CEO of Cruise.

The last 10 years have been amazing, and I’m grateful to everyone who helpeds 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.

Morale at Cruise has been low since the October 2 incident, with employees pointing the finger at poor management that didn’t prioritize safety at the company. Employee discontent was further inflamed last week when Cruise suspended its employee share-selling program for the fourth quarter. Sources who spoke to TechCrunch on the condition of anonymity said they could lose upwards of tens of thousands of dollars as a result of this decision.

Over the weekend, Cruise backtracked on that move. Vogt sent out an email on Saturday saying that certain employees could sell a limited number of shares in a one-time opportunity. Vogt didn’t provide many details but said the company was developing a plan to conduct a new tender offer to provide restricted stock unit liquidity to mitigate potential tax implications. TechCrunch has viewed the email.

Vogt went on to offer his staff a blanket apology for “the situation Cruise is in today.”

This story is developing …

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