The National Safety Council's Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO, will leave the organization on Jan. 11 to join California-based Waymo, a self-driving technology company, where she will serve as chief safety officer.
While the council’s board has begun a nationwide search for her replacement, COO Nicholas Smith will serve as interim president and CEO.
A long-time champion for safety, Hersman is poised to lead Waymo through the next phase of its self-driving vehicle program. In a blog post, Hersman wrote with passion about the autonomous vehicle industry and its potential to save lives, “We are on the brink of addressing one of the greatest challenges of the century: creating not just a safer car, but a safer driver.”
After serving 10 years at the National Transportation Safety Board including five as NTSB chairman, Hersman joined the National Safety Council in 2014. During her tenure, the council launched several high-profile initiatives focused on eliminating preventable deaths including the Road to Zero coalition as well as MyCarDoesWhat.org, to educate the public about vehicle safety technologies.
"I will take all I have learned at two dream jobs, leading the NSC and the National Transportation Safety Board, to be part of something that can change the world and save many lives. I will join the men and women of Waymo, who have been working to build the world’s most experienced driver for almost 10 years," Hersman wrote in a blog post. "It is my greatest hope that Waymo will lead, as well as partner with others in the self-driving space, to ensure that safety is the highest collective priority."