GM’s Ammann Leaving to Head Cruise Affiliate

Dan Ammann is leaving as president of General Motors Co. to take over as CEO of Cruise, the California autonomous startup GM bought in 2016 for about $1 billion, on Jan. 1.

Ammann’s departure means that GM Finance and the carmaker’s global regional operations will report directly to GM CEO Mary Barra, according to the carmaker. Dhivya Suryadevara will absorb responsibility for corporate development.

Ammann succeeds Cruise founder and CEO Kyle Vogt, who will remain as president and chief technology officer of the San Francisco-based company. The two men have worked closely to expand Cruise since Ammann led the GM team that acquired it.

Cruise develops operating software for autonomous vehicles. The company has expanded from 40 employees two years ago to about 1,200 and currently has a market valuation of $14.6 billion. The startup attracted a $2.3 billion investment in May from Japan’s SoftBank Vision Fund.

Under the new management team, Ammann will focus on scaling up and commercializing the business, while Vogt concentrates on the technical aspects of Cruise operations. GM has said it intends to launch a ride-hailing service in 2019 that will use a fleet of automated self-driving vehicles.

Analysts predict that Cruise eventually will separate from GM through an initial public offering or special stock listing.