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Cruise executive team
Cruise Automation’s newly reshuffled executive team includes chief operating officer Dan Kan,; Kyle Vogt, who will become president and chief technology officer; and GM President Dan Ammann, who will become Cruise’s chief executive officer. (GM Photo / Noah Berger)

General Motors has shuffled its executive team to put its president, Dan Ammann, into the CEO spot at its autonomous-vehicle subsidiary, Cruise Automation.

Cruise co-founder Kyle Vogt will move out of the CEO role and partner with Ammann to set the company’s strategic direction and lead technology development as its president and chief technology officer, GM and Cruise said today in a news release.

The executive shift is effective Jan. 1, 2019.

San Francisco-based Cruise has grown from 40 employees to more than 1,000 during Vogt’s tenure as CEO. Just last week, Cruise announced that it would be setting up a Seattle-area engineering office with plans to add up to 200 employees by the end of next year.

Ammann spearheaded GM’s acquisition of Cruise in 2016, reportedly at a price of $1 billion, and oversaw GM’s relationship with the company. With recent investment by Softbank and Honda, Cruise’s valuation has grown to $14.6 billion, GM says.

“I’m excited to dedicate 100 percent of my time and energy to helping Kyle and the entire team realize our mission of deploying this technology at scale,” Ammann said in today’s news release.

In his own statement, Vogt gave the incoming CEO a warm welcome. “Dan’s been my partner since General Motors’ initial investment in Cruise, and I am thrilled he has agreed to join us full-time,” he said. “Dan’s thorough understanding of our mission and his operational expertise make him the perfect fit to lead Cruise into commercial deployment.”

Cruise has been testing autonomous versions of GM’s all-electric Chevy Bolt in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as in Arizona and Michigan, with an eye toward starting up a ride-hailing service sometime next year.

“These appointments further demonstrate our commitment to transforming mobility through the safe deployment of self-driving technology, and moving closer to our vision for a future with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion,” GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said in a statement. “As we move closer to commercial deployment, adding Dan to the strong team led by Kyle is the next step.”

Cruise’s other co-founder, Dan Kan, will continue in his role as chief operating officer.

Today’s shift was announced on the heels of a corporate restructuring at GM that will result in 14,000 layoffs. Production is to be halted at several auto plants in Ohio, Michigan, Maryland and Ontario by the end of next year. GM said. At the same time, GM said it would double the resources devoted to electric and autonomous vehicles over the next two years.

With Ammann’s appointment as Cruise CEO, GM’s global regions and GM Financial will now report directly to Barra.

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