• Cruise is adding to its leaderships ranks with Regina Dugan, a veteran of DARPA, Google, and Facebook.
  • Dugan will join the board and be Cruise’s first independent director.
  • Her role will be to encourage moonshots for the autonomous ride-hailing startup, acquired by General Motors in 2016 for $1 billion and now valued at nearly $20 billion.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

On Tuesday, the autonomous ride-hailing startup Cruise announced that Regina E. Dugan had joined its board as its first independent director.

In April, Cruise hired prominent California lawyer Jeff Bleich, a former US Ambassador to Australia, as its chief legal officer.

The bolstering of San Francisco-based Cruise’s leadership ranks comes as ride-hailing startups have encountered headwinds during the coronavirus pandemic, which has drastically curtailed Uber’s and Lyft’s businesses, and spurring layoffs. 

Cruise, valued at nearly $20 billion following investment from SoftBank and Honda, has also cut staff — about 8% of its workforce in mid-May — and curtailed testing of its self-driving fleet in the Bay Area.

A veteran of DARPA, Google, and Facebook

Cruise Origin in SF's Castro District

The Cruise Origin autonomous shuttle.


Despite those moves and an uncertain future, the company that General Motors bought for around $1 billion, all in, when it was a little-known startup founded by Kyle Vogt and Dan Kan remains committed to a world in which individual car ownership declines.

That vision fits into Dugan’s background. The CalTech PhD (in mechanical engineering) was from 2009-2012 a director at the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA. She then headed up Google’s Advanced Technology And Products Group and later oversaw experimental hardware development for Facebook. She’s now the CEO of Wellcome Leap, a healthcare nonprofit.

“In health care and in transportation, I believe in the power of science and technology to change our world. With this power comes the responsibility to deliver life-saving advances at scale,” she said in a statement. “Cruise has the tech, the team, and the tenacity to get it done. I’m stoked to join.”

According to Cruise CEO Dan Ammann, Dugan’s role as a director will be to push the company to aim high.

“Regina’s experience in building technology that is both moonshot in its aspiration as well as mission critical in its execution is a perfect fit for our work at Cruise and we’re thrilled to have her join the mission,” he said in a statement.

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