Waymo’s chief business development officer is leaving just as the Alphabet unit’s self-driving car business is getting off the ground. Shaun Stewart, who joined two and a half years ago after a career in online travel and hospitality, including at Airbnb, next month will become CEO of a Brooklyn-based facility called New Lab that helps hardware-related startups with prototyping and other services, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. Jump, an electric bike-sharing service now owned by Uber, spent time inside of New Lab, for instance. Waymo and New Lab confirmed the move.
At Waymo, Stewart oversaw the company’s test operations facilities primarily in the Phoenix suburbs as well as in the Bay Area suburbs where Waymo is based. There, he had to deal with the implications of a collision caused by a safety driver who fell asleep. He also struck deals with firms like Avis and AutoNation to help maintain and repair Waymo’s fleet of several hundred cars. The timing of his departure is surprising, given that the company set a deadline of this year to launch a commercial version of its driverless robotaxi service to the public, which would be the first of its kind. After departing the company at the end of the month, Mr. Stewart will become a consultant to Waymo in addition to his duties at New Lab. Waymo expects to hire a chief commercial officer who will oversee business operations and business development.