Waymo just lost its CEO

Waymo CEO John Krafcik is leaving the self-driving technology company.

Krafcik made the announcement last week via a LinkedIn post, where he said he was looking forward to some downtime, as well as a chance to flesh out a new project with his wife, Leila.

Replacing Krafcik in joint CEO roles at Waymo will be Dmitri Dolgov, the company’s chief technology officer, and Tekedra Mawakana, the company’s chief operating officer.

Dolgov has been developing self-driving technology since the days of the DARPA Urban Challenge in the mid-2000s. Mawakana, meanwhile, previously led policy teams at rival technology companies eBay and Yahoo.

Waymo executives

Waymo executives

Krafcik has been running Waymo since 2015, back when it was still a unit of Google known as the Google Self-Driving Car Project. He oversaw Waymo’s transition into a standalone company in 2016 and the launch of the Waymo One self-driving taxi service in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2018.

Prior to joining Waymo, Krafcik had jobs at Hyundai and TrueCar.

In his LinkedIn post, Krafcik said the stage which Waymo is now at is a prime time for him to “past the baton.” The company last year inked a number of deals with major automakers including Daimler, Stellantis and Volvo, and also launched a fifth-generation version of its Waymo Driver self-driving system. The Waymo Driver is ranked at Level 4 on the SAE scale of self-driving capability as it can handle itself, though only with restrictions.

Krafcik said the fifth-generation system is currently being prepared for deployment in taxi and goods delivery services. The latter will be a new service known as Waymo Via.

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