Google's chief driving officer Waymo is stepping down

An official who oversaw the transformation of Google's automotive project and put it into a multi-billion dollar private company


John Krafcik announced his resignation as CEO of Waymo, a company that came out of Google, in a letter written on Friday expressing his desire to enjoy life as the world emerges from the epidemic.

"I look forward to a time of renewal, reconnection with old friends and family, and discovering new parts of the world," wrote Krafcik, 59.

Two of Krafcik's top executives will replace him as co-CEO. Dmitri Dolgov, who has worked in self-driving cars since Waymo launched within Google in 2009, will focus on private car technology. Mr Tekedra Mawakana, a lawyer who was formerly chief executive of Waymo, will take over the business side of the campaign.

"The time I was earning Waymo has been a pillar of my career," Krafcik wrote. "Together, we have achieved an amazing first as we develop, ship, and sell our completely independent Waymo Driver, and work to make our roads safer and more accessible."

Krafcik will remain a mentor for Waymo, a company that has proven itself as a clear leader in independent driving since Google hired him in 2015. Shortly thereafter, Google's self-driving unit moved to Waymo, an Alphabet-owned company, also a Google Parent.

Slow ride

Waymo's entry has left it with an estimated market value of $ 30 billion, based on analysts' estimates made last year after the company earned $ 2.25 billion in its first round of investment from outside the Alphabet. But that estimate has dropped dramatically since 2018 when Morgan Stanley's research report estimates that Waymo was worth about $ 175 billion.

The massive turnaround highlights the challenges of building self-driving vehicles that can travel on the roads safely while still interacting with traditional human-controlled vehicles. That job proved to be more difficult than Waymo and many other companies working in self-driving technology that you imagined five or six years ago.

In all the advances of independent driving, Waymo does not believe he ever made money during Krafcik's reign. Waymo does not disclose its financial results. It operates within part of the alphabet called "Other Betting" which includes other remote projects funded by the huge profits found in Google's digital advertising empire.