Cruise CEO Dan Ammann Fired By GM's Mary Barra Amid Differences Over IPO Plans, Company Focus: Report

Cruise CEO Dan Ammann Fired By GM's Mary Barra Amid Differences Over IPO Plans, Company Focus: Report

General Motors Co GM CEO Mary Barra has dismissed self-driving subsidiary Cruise’s CEO Dan Ammann due to differences over the focus on the robotaxi unit, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the events.

What Happened: Ammann, who has led the self-driving car unit Cruise since 2019, abruptly stepped down on Friday. 

Barra and Ammann reportedly had differences over the focus of the robotaxi business, with the GM board being inclined towards expanding the self-driving unit to create luxury Cadillacs and self-driven cars that could be sold at retail stores.

Ammann was open to ideas but wanted the company to focus on the robotaxi unit before diverting the resources towards expansion, as per Bloomberg.

The 49-year old former investment banker was also reportedly keen on taking Cruise public sooner but GM was worried an IPO would slow its progress. 

Both Ammann and Barra were contenders for the CEO role at GM in 2014 and succeed Dank Akerson. 

“Ultimately, the dispute was about control,” the report noted, adding that ultimately Barra and GM called the shots.

See Also: Waymo And Cruise Said To Be Seeking Approval To Commercialize Self-Driving Rides In San Francisco

Kyle Vogt, who co-founded the autonomous vehicle company and was the company’s first CEO, will take over the role on an interim basis.

Why It Matters: GM has put in billions of dollars in Cruise since acquiring it in March 2016. The legacy automaker owns an 82.7% stake in the self-driving unit, which is also backed by Honda Motor Co Ltd HMC and SoftBank Group Corp SFTBY.

Cruise is known to be seeking final approval from California regulators to begin commercializing its robotaxi fleet in San Francisco. 

Cruise would receive $1.35 billion from SoftBank's Vision Fund once its autonomous vehicles are ready for commercial deployment, as part of the earlier agreement.

Price Action: GM shares closed 5.52% lower at $55.16 a share on Friday.

Photo: Courtesy of World Economic Forum via Flickr

Posted In: Dan AmmannGM CruiseMary Barraself-driving technologyNewsManagementTechMedia