Waymo is slated to launch a public self-driving car service in Phoenix sometime in the next two months. Ahead of that, the Alphabet company is hiring both a Chief Safety Officer and a Chief Business Officer.
Both positions are firsts for the company and report directly to CEO John Krafcik as Waymo prepares to go public with its self-driving technology. Deborah Hersman was previously chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board from 2009 to 2014. The NTSB is responsible for investigating civil accidents in the U.S., including aviation, highway crashes, and railroad incidents.
She previously worked as a Congressional staffer helping pass various safety-related bills designed to improve infrastructure in the U.S. Since leaving office, she has led the nonprofit National Safety Council and joins Waymo in January.
As CSO, Hersman will be tasked with “safety across [Waymo’s] extensive testing and development program.” She will “oversee the design and enhancement of our product safety program, working closely with Waymo’s engineering, product, and legal teams.”
“Waymo is well known for its industry-leading technology and I’m excited to join the team to ensure we continue to build upon its world-class programs, continuously innovating and advancing the field of safety,” said Deborah Hersman, Waymo’s first Chief Safety Officer. “I’ve dedicated my career to promoting safety in our communities, and I’m joining Waymo because of the potential to make an even greater impact on reducing road injuries and fatalities.”
Meanwhile, Amee Chande is leading business strategy, corporate development, operations, and strategic partnerships. As Chief Business Officer, Chande will oversee the first commercial service in Phoenix, Arizona. Waymo has also discussed how businesses like Walmart are interested in using self-driving cars to chauffeur shoppers around and create other new customer experiences.
Before joining Waymo, she held positions Alibaba, Staples, Tesco and Walmart. While the technology is finally rolling out, the Alphabet company needs to start monetizing its expensive investments in autonomy.