Cruise, the autonomous vehicle technology subsidiary of GM, said Friday it has hired Delta Air Lines’ former chief operating officer Gil West as it makes the transition towards early commercialization.
West, who had retired from Delta last year, will become Cruise’s first chief operating officer. The announcement comes more than month after Cruise launched tests on public roads using autonomous vehicles without a human safety operator behind the wheel. The testing is still being conducted in a limited geographic area in San Francisco and in one of the city’s less congested neighborhoods, but it is was still viewed as a milestone for the company and a necessary step to secure a permit to launch a shared, commercial service that can charge for rides.
West comes to Cruise with more than 12 years experience running a massive global operation at that had an annual $16 billion budget. During his tenure, he helped Delta grow its earnings per share by more than 15% year-over-year and led the company’s merger integration with Northwest Airlines.