Cruise, GM's autonomous driving subsidiary, names Marc Whitten as CEO

Cruise, General Motors' driverless car subsidiary, said Tuesday that a video game industry veteran will become its new CEO, eight months after its previous CEO resigned following a series of safety issues with its its vehicles.

The appointment of Marc Whitten, who most recently served as an executive at video game technology company Unity, follows a tumultuous year for Cruise, who in October was ordered by California regulators to take his fleet of vehicles off the road after a series of road accidents. The worst incident occurred on October 2, when a pedestrian was dragged under a Cruise car on a San Francisco street.

Cruise has since laid off a quarter of its workforce and laid off nine executives.

Mr. Whitten, who will take over on July 16, was also a founding engineer of Xbox and chief executive of Amazon. He will join Mo Elshenawy, Cruise's president and chief technology officer, and Craig Glidden, Cruise's president and chief operating officer, who were appointed by Cruise's board of directors in November to lead the company following the resignation of Cruise's previous CEO, Kyle Vogt. .

Marc Whitten was most recently an executive at video game technology company Unity.Credit…Chelsea Lauren/Variety/Penske Media, via Getty Images

“It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of this transformation,” Whitten said in a statement. “The Cruise team has built world-class technology, and I look forward to working with them to help bring this critical mission to life.”

Since Vogt's resignation, Cruise has been slow to restart its operations, a far cry from its rapid expansion to 15 cities in 10 states a year ago. In May, Cruise executives told the New York Times that they were in no rush to get back on the road and that safety was Cruise's “north star.”

GM acquired Cruise for $1.6 billion in 2016.

Cruise also hired Nick Mulholland, who worked for electric car maker Rivian, as its new head of communications and marketing. Mr. Elshenawy and Mr. Glidden will remain with the company and report to Mr. Whitten, the company said in a statement.

In a separate announcement, GM named Grant Dixton, also from the video game industry, as its new executive vice president and chief legal and public policy officer. Mr. Dixton previously worked for Activision Blizzard in a senior leadership role.

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