Cruise Appoints New Chief Safety Officer Amid Challenges

Steve Kenner will take over several months after a fatal accident involving a pedestrian that led to the suspension of Cruise's permission to operate in California.


Cruise, the autonomous vehicle division of General Motors facing scrutiny, has appointed Steve Kenner, a seasoned safety professional with a rich background in both the automotive and technology sectors, as its new chief safety officer, the Associated Press reported.

Kenner, whose career spans nearly four decades with leadership roles in companies like Apple, Uber and Ford, takes the helm at a crucial juncture for Cruise.

Kenner's appointment comes on the heels of an incident involving a Cruise robotaxi in San Francisco that resulted in a pedestrian being dragged, followed by allegations of the company concealing crash details from regulators. This led to the suspension of Cruise's license to operate its driverless fleet in California and prompted an overhaul of its leadership and operational strategies.

Kenner started his career as an engineer at GM, and has extensive experience in safety management, particularly his recent tenure as vice president of safety at Kodiak, a self-driving truck company.

The incident in question, which occurred four months prior to Kenner's appointment, not only raised concerns about the safety of autonomous vehicles but also brought to light issues regarding transparency and communication with regulatory bodies. In response to the incident and the subsequent fallout, Cruise, under the guidance of a new management team installed by General Motors, acknowledged the need for greater transparency and a collaborative approach to safety.

Kenner, in a statement released by Cruise, emphasized the importance of a unified effort towards safety. "Safety requires that every team within a company work together to put passengers and other road users first," Kenner said.

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