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GM software unit to be led by two former Apple executives

Credit: GM

The General Motors (GM) software division will now be led by two former Apple executives, as announced by the company this week.

On Monday, GM announced that it was promoting former Apple executives Baris Cetinok and Dave Richardson to lead the Software and Services unit, officially replacing former head Mike Abbott, who the company says departed in March due to health needs. The announcement also comes after Apple quietly canceled its “Project Titan” autonomous vehicle earlier this year, after several years of development.

Cetinok will serve as the SVP of Software and Services Product Management, Program Management and Design, while Richardson will be expanding his role as the automaker’s SVP of Software and Services Engineering.

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“GM’s journey toward a tech-forward future is clearer than ever, thanks to the exceptional talent within our team and the leadership of Baris and Dave,” wrote CEO Mary Barra in the press release.

“They bring energy and vision, combined with extensive technical and management experience, that will continue to strengthen our software engineering and product teams. These elevated roles will ensure continuity, speed, and quality as software becomes even more central to the vehicle.”

Cetinok has worked in product, engineering and design at Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, leading the launches of several key Apple products such as Apple Pay, Apple Cash, Apple Card, as well as iCloud services like Photos, Drive and Find My. In total, he was with Apple for nine years, before going on to work in executive roles at Robinhood and FalconX.

“I’m excited to share that this week I am embarking on the role of Senior Vice President of Software and Services Product Management, Program Management and Design at General Motors, working alongside my friend David Richardson who will head up Software and Services Engineering,” wrote Cetinok in a post on LinkedIn on Monday.

Richardson worked at Apple for 12 years, going on to become the Director of Engineering for Apple Cloud infrastructure. He played key roles in developing infrastructure systems for iCloud products, FaceTime, iMessage, and Siri, among others.

“In this role, I’ll be focusing on areas including software defined vehicle development, software quality and testing, services, cloud platforms, web and mobile, IT, and advanced driver-assistance systems,” wrote Richardson in his own LinkedIn post announcing the news.

The news comes as GM has re-launched human-operated testing for its Cruise driverless ride-sharing vehicles, after one of the company’s self-driving vehicles struck a pedestrian in October. The company’s license to operate driverless vehicles was immediately suspended following the event, and GM has highlighted re-launching Cruise as a major goal for this year.

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GM software unit to be led by two former Apple executives
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