The executive who steered the transformation of Google’s self-driving car project into a separate company worth billions of dollars is stepping down after more than five years on the job.
John Krafcik announced his departure as CEO of Waymo, a company spun out from Google, in a Friday blog post that cited his desire to enjoy life as the world emerges from the pandemic.
“I’m looking forward to a refresh period, reconnecting with old friends and family, and discovering new parts of the world,” Krafcik, 59, wrote.
Two of Krafcik’s prime lieutenants will exchange him as co-CEOs. Dmitri Dolgov, who has been engaged on self-driving vehicles since Waymo started inside Google in 2009, will concentrate on the expertise for the autonomous autos. Tekedra Mawakana, a lawyer who had been Waymo’s chief working officer, will deal with the enterprise aspect of the operation.
Krafcik will stay an adviser to Waymo, an organization that established itself because the clear chief in autonomous driving since Google employed him in 2015. Not lengthy after that, Google’s self-driving division morphed into Waymo, an organization owned by Alphabet, which can be Google’s mother or father.
Under Krafcik’s leadership, Waymo forged partnerships with several major automakers and launched the first ride-hailing service to pick up passengers without a driver or anyone else in the vehicles. That service, called Waymo One, only operates in the Phoenix metropolitan area, but Waymo plans to expand into other markets as the company continues to refine a technology that is expected to transform the auto industry.
Waymo’s inroads have left it with an estimated market worth of about $30 billion, primarily based on analyst estimates made final 12 months after the corporate raised $2.25 billion in its first spherical of investments from exterior Alphabet. Waymo subsequently acquired $1 billion from exterior buyers to shut that spherical of financing. But final 12 months’s estimated $30 billion valuation was down dramatically from 2018 when a Morgan Stanley analysis report estimated Waymo was price about $175 billion.
The huge swing reflects the challenges of building self-driving cars that can navigate the roads safely while still dealing with traditional vehicles under the control of humans. That task has proven far more difficult than Waymo and dozens of other companies working on self-driving technology envisioned five or six years ago.
or all its progress in autonomous driving, Waymo is not believed to have ever made cash throughout Krafcik’s reign. Waymo does not disclose its monetary outcomes. It operates inside an phase of Alphabet known as “Other Bets” that features a number of different far-flung tasks financed by the massive income generated from Google’s digital promoting empire.
Alphabet’s “Other Bets” have lost nearly $13 billion during the past three years.