Waymo Hires Former GM Cruise Automation HR Exec

Waymo, self-driving vehicle arm of Google parent company Alphabet, has hired former Netflix and GM executive Tawni Nazario-Cranz as its chief people officer. She will report to directly to CEO John Krafick.

A graduate of the Drucker Graduate School of Management and University of California, Santa Barbara, she scaled and built out the core human resources functions at GM’s Cruise Automation department, as well as for Bausch & Lomb and FedEx Kinko’s, according to Nazario-Cranz’s LinkedIn profile.

Nazario-Cranz also helped create Netflix’s Unlimited Maternity & Paternity Leave policy, which Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg described as “the most important document to ever come out of the [Silicon] Valley.”

Her role at Waymo will be to rapidly scale the company by identifying talent and bringing those employees into Waymo as the company begins a rapid expansion period. She will also serve as a key contributor to Waymo’s leadership team, as well as an “architect, champion and defender” of Waymo’s culture, values and diversity.

“I’m excited by the opportunity to work for such an innovative company with a mission that I truly believe in,” she wrote on her LinkedIn page. “We have the opportunity to transform the way people live and work, while making a positive impact on communities, cities and our environment.”

At rival Cruise Automation, where she worked for eight months, Nazario-Cranz developed and implemented strategic HR processes, talent management and people operations designed to promote innovation and entrepreneurship.

“With so much growth ahead for Waymo, I’m deeply passionate about building a human-centered culture that supports talented employees while giving them the space to do their very best work,” Nazario-Cranz continued.

Competition for talent in the autonomous vehicle space is accelerating, with the top companies eager to fill positions both to help them build and innovate, as well as market their products and services to a public highly skeptical of self-driving cars.

Waymo currently lists more than 75 available positions at the company, ranging from systems engineering positions to software, supply chain and manufacturing, and marketing and communications.

While consumer electronics giant Apple hasn’t shown off its own autonomous vehicles or said much about its automotive plans, a recent hire suggests it’s still serious about hitting the road.

The company recently brought on Jaime Waydo, who was a top systems engineer at Waymo, according to news reports. The move was first reported by The Information (subscription required) on June 15.

Waydo played a major role at Waymo, the Google affiliate that appears to be leading the race toward commercial deployment of fully self-driving cars.

Nathan Eddy is a filmmaker and freelance journalist based in Berlin. Follow him on Twitter @dropdeaded209.

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