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GM’s Chief Technical Officer Leaves Self Driving Program After Only Six Months

Could GM's autonomy program be in trouble?

After just six months, General Motor’s Cruise division’s first Chief Technology Officer, A.G. Gangadhar, has jumped ship, according to reports by Recode. The former Uber engineer joined GM last September to lead the self-driving program before parting ways with the company.

Despite a controversial hiring, GM decided to bring on Gangadhar in a leadership role to its autonomous driving program. Gangadhar noted that with only six months on the job, he had decided to leave Cruise after disagreements with CEO Kyle Vogt. In an email, it was insinuated that the two had different visions for the direction of the engineering team under the pair’s management and that Gangadhar left the company on good terms.

“After serious consideration, Cruise and [A.G.] have elected to part ways,” said a spokesman for Cruise in a statement to Recode, “We wish him the best in all future endeavors.”

General Motors acquired self-driving startup Cruise for $1 billion in 2016 to gain a jump start in the very new driverless car market. Through its work, the company was able to develop the technology necessary for GM to ready its fleet of autonomous Bolts for mass production and testing around the United States.

Gangadhar left Uber on the heels of allegations surrounding mismanagement which allowed the harboring of an unsafe work environment for women. It is believed that this shadow followed him throughout his tenure at GM’s self-driving division, given that his former employees at Uber blasted Cruise job recruiters, citing that the company was under “management of the same male” that permitted sexism and sexual harassment to occur at Uber. The former CTO wishes to leave his past at Uber behind, stating that he was cleared of any wrongdoing.

The leadership team that Gangadhar brought to Cruise during his short stint is one that he is exceptionally proud of, pinching executives from Amazon, Hyperloop, and other top companies. It seems that he enjoys building respectable teams for organizations, as the former CTO noted that he was looking forward to pursuing roles advising and investing in “early stage technology companies”