The CEO of Google's Self-Driving Car Spinoff Resigns.
The executive who oversaw Google's self-driving car project's transformation into a billion-dollar standalone business is stepping down after more than five years on the job.
John Krafcik declared his resignation as CEO of Waymo, a Google spinoff, in a Friday blog post in which he expressed his intention to enjoy life as the planet recovers from the pandemic.
"I'm looking forward to recharging my batteries, reconnecting with old friends and family, and exploring new areas of the world," Krafcik, 59, wrote.
Krafcik will be succeeded as co-CEO by two of his top lieutenants. Dmitri Dolgov, who has been working on self-driving cars since Google acquired Waymo in 2009, will concentrate on the autonomous vehicle technology. Tekedra Mawakana, a lawyer who previously served as Waymo's chief operating officer, will oversee the company's business operations.
Krafcik will continue to advise Waymo, which has emerged as the undisputed pioneer in autonomous driving since Google recruited him in 2015. Not long after, Google's self-driving division merged with Waymo, another corporation owned by Alphabet, which is also the parent company of Google.
Under Krafcik's leadership, Waymo formed partnerships with many major automakers and introduced the first ride-hailing service in which passengers are picked up without the presence of a driver or someone else in the car. This service, called Waymo One, is currently only available in the Phoenix metropolitan area, but Waymo intends to expand into additional markets as it refines a technology that is expected to change the auto industry.
Waymo's advancements have resulted in an overall market valuation of about $30 billion, according to analyst reports made last year following the company's $2.25 billion first round of outside funding. Waymo also raised $1 billion in funding from outside investors. However, last year's approximate $30 billion valuation was a significant decrease from 2018's estimated $175 billion valuation, according to a Morgan Stanley research study.
The enormous swing represents the difficulties inherent in developing self-driving cars capable of safely navigating roads while coexisting with human-driven vehicles. The challenge has proved much more challenging than Waymo and hundreds of other self-driving technology companies expected five or six years ago.
Despite its advancements in autonomous driving, Waymo is claimed to have never generated revenue during Krafcik's tenure. Waymo does not release financial information. It is part of Alphabet's "Other Bets" division, which also includes many other far-flung ventures funded by the massive profits created by Google's digital advertising empire.
Over the last three years, Alphabet's "Other Bets" have lost almost $13 billion.