Waymo “Chief Safety Officer” Steps Down

Amir Efrati has the scoop on Waymo over at The Information:

Deborah Hersman, who last year joined Alphabet’s Waymo division to improve the safety-related practices at the self-driving car developer, has stepped down, The Information has learned. She remains a consultant to the company, which recently raised $3 billion from outside investors.

At Waymo, Hersman worked on assessing the safety risks associated with Waymo’s vehicles and operations and making sure the vehicles operate safely in the event of software or hardware failures. She oversaw a small team—about half a dozen individuals in a company with more than 1,500 employees—but she reported to CEO John Krafcik and made changes that impacted the company’s entire operations. She is the second Krafcik deputy to depart in the past year.

The Information

Why would she want to leave a company that’s about to change the world as we know it? Maybe she realized her job was kind of pointless as long as the company’s safety strategy is “don’t let anyone use the product”?

A Waymo spokeswoman said the company is conducting a search for her replacement and in the meantime has named Tracy Murell, head of safety operations, health and environment as the interim chief safety officer. Hersman’s appointment last year was highly touted, as she previously spent nearly a decade as a board member and chairman of a federal agency that investigates transportation-related crashes. “Debbie has decided to return to her family home on the east coast and will continue on as a consultant to Waymo,” said a Waymo spokeswoman.

The Information

But other than that, I’m sure things are going great.

Read the full story at The Information

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