GM's Cruise sheds nine execs in the name of safety and integrity

Robotaxi firm's car ran over a woman, then it allegedly misled investigators

Updated GM’s self-driving taxi outfit, Cruise, has dismissed nine execs – including its chief operating officer – after staff withheld information regarding an incident in which a woman was injured by one of the firm's robotaxis.

"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 told The Register.

"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 spokesperson added.

The incident involved a San Francisco pedestrian who was the victim of a hit and run accident involving a vehicle not operated by Cruise.

The victim was subsequently struck by a Cruise vehicle, became trapped under its wheels, and was dragged 20 feet (7 meters) at a speed of seven miles per hour (11km/h). The Cruise car, which had no passengers aboard, then parked on top of the victim, whose leg was pinned down by a tire. Firefighters removed her from under the vehicle.

In mid-October the California Department of Motor Vehicles ordered Cruise to remove its driverless vehicles from state roads. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also opened an investigation into Cruise (having already probed the biz in December 2022 over the unrelated issue of inappropriately hard braking [PDF].

Cruise commenced its own investigation, and on October 26 announced a "pause" of all driverless operations. It had already stopped in California, after the State's Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) revoked its authority to operate.

The robot-taxi biz retained law firm Quinn Emanuel to look into its response to law enforcement, regulators and media. Engineering firm Exponent was brought in to "conduct a technical root cause analysis" and provide a "comprehensive review of [Cruise's] safety systems and technology."

Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt then quit in late November, but did not tie his departure to the October 2 accident.

Things became even worse a few weeks ago, when CPUC accused Cruise of withholding information about the October accident. Allegedly, Cruise withheld video evidence from both CPUC and the California Department of Motor Vehicles, and made misleading public statements.

Cruise did not detail which execs left the org in today's exodus, but a memo reportedly listed chief operating officer Gil West, senior vice president of government affairs David Estrada, and chief legal and policy officer Jeff Bleich as among those departing.

General Motors purchased Cruise in 2016, when it was a three-year-old startup. Its vehicles provided driverless taxi service rides for a little over a year.

Cruise did manage a few short blissful weeks of operation in 2022 before its first snafu, when it had to pull its software. The software revision came after one of its vehicles was involved in a crash at an unprotected left turn.

Cruise's C-suite departures come in the same week that Tesla recalled two million vehicles in a bid to improve the safety of its Autopilot self-driving software. ®

Updated to add on December 14

Cruise is also cutting about 24 percent of its workforce, or 900 people, in non-engineering roles.

More about


Send us news

Other stories you might like