Spearheaded by Ammann, GM acquired San Francisco-based Cruise Automation in 2016. He has since overseen its expansion from 40 employees to more than 1,000 at the GM subsidiary.
“Dan’s talents, I think, would have been underutilized if he was the CEO when there was just 40 people at the company,” Vogt said on Thursday. “To me, it’s sort of the sweet spot where the skills that Dan has will really complement what we have on our leadership team today and take it to the next level. I think the timing is pretty good.”
Ammann relinquished other roles as president, including leading Cadillac and global portfolio planning, to GM product chief Mark Reuss in June.
The changes follow several major announcements in recent months about GM's autonomous work, including a $2.25 billion investment by the SoftBank Vision Fund of Japan and plans for Honda Motor Co. to invest $2.75 billion in the operations.
"These appointments further demonstrate our commitment to transforming mobility through the safe deployment of self-driving technology and move us closer to our vision for a future with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion," Barra said in a Thursday statement. "As we move toward commercial deployment, adding Dan to the strong team led by Kyle is the next step."
The announcement also comes three days after Barra and Suryadevara announced a major restructuring of the company's North American production operations and plans to cut 15 percent of the automaker's salaried workforce, including 25 percent of its global executives. Those actions were in part driven by GM’s plans to devote more resources to emerging technologies such as self-driving and autonomous vehicles.