SoftBank Managing Partner Michael Ronen is at the front of the driverless Cruise AV in May together with GM chairman Dan Ammann, left, and CEO Mary Barra. Photo credit: Steve Fecht / GM
After eight years at General Motors, where he quickly emerged as the highest president of the last four years, the former banker of Wall Street, Dan Ammann, will now lead the autonomous vehicle company to help acquire GM in Cruise Automation.
GM on Thursday called Ammann, 46, CEO of the San Francisco-based Cruise, now the autonomous GM vehicle management company. Cruise's current CEO and co-founder, Kyle Vogt, becomes president and chief technology officer of the operations.
The movement for Ammann to lead Cruise has been being kept in the making for some time by insiders in the industry. Many analysts believe that GM Cruise might find out whether to launch an initial public offering for the subsidiary.
Ammann played an important role in the acquisition of Cruise in 2016 and also served in the Lyft board after GM had purchased a $ 500 million stake in the company. He has been very interested in GM & # 39; s development of autonomous vehicles and technology and spent a lot of time in San Francisco with the Cruise team. And he has said that he thinks that self-propelled vehicle technology will change the world.
"The key to achieving the vision we have drawn from a General Motors point of view – zero crashes, zero emissions, zero filing – we believe that AV technology is a fundamental key to unlocking all of those dimensions," Ammann said Automotive News last year.
There were signs this year that GM might put Ammann in first place at Cruise. He helped to make a $ 2.25 billion investment in Cruise this year through the SoftBank Vision Fund of Japan, with which GM was positioned as a leader in the race to autonomous vehicles.
And earlier this year GM moved the supervision of the luxury brand Cadillac to GM product manager Mark Reuss, allowing Ammann to concentrate more on autonomous vehicles and self-driving technology development.
A resident of New Zealand who is known for his direct and even throat, Ammann moved to Morgan Stan's Morgan in 2010, where he was director and head of industrial investment banking. He started with GM as treasurer, a year after he advised the automaker during the bankruptcy restructuring in 2009.
His first responsibility at GM was to manage the IPO of the company in November 2010. He was also the key in GM's strategy to return to car finance with GM Financial, which was established in 2010 through the acquisition of AmeriCredit. .
He quickly climbed up the GM ladder in Detroit and at the age of 38 he was appointed Chief Financial Officer in 2011, working tirelessly to reduce debt and withdraw cash for what he often called the vesting balance of GM & # 39; would call.
Ammann was one of four candidates who examined former GM CEO Dan Akerson and considered taking over GM at the end of 2013 when he resigned; Mary Barra was eventually selected.
Under Barra, Ammann has been GM & # 39; s president since January 2014, overseeing the company's global operations and the captive arm GM Financial. He also oversaw GM's goals to grow Chevrolet and Cadillac into global brands and has been chairman of the board of directors of GM's Chinese joint venture SAIC General Motors since February 2014.
Ammann helped GM to cut its global operations and restructure non-profitable regions around the world, including leaving the European market, Opel sales to PSA Group last year and GM restructuring Korea this year.
Barra, Ammann and other top managers have worked closely together to build a new culture of safety and transparency at GM as a result of the deadly emergency circuit crisis in 2014. They have also tried to become a complex company that was once filled with silo & # 39; s streamline and simplify.
Ammann is a car customer and loves to drive fast on the track. He took his first bonus from Morgan Stanley to buy a 1961 Cadillac Series 62 convertible. Ammann, who tried to stay close to product development and sometimes spent Friday testing mules with Reuss in GM & # 39; s Milford Proving Grounds, is among a handful of GM managers who have been certified as testers of industrial pole tests on the Nürburgring race track in Germany.
He is a member of the board of directors of Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Ammann holds a bachelor's degree in management studies from the University of Waikato in New Zealand.