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Stellantis taps tech chief from Amazon; GM appoints BrightDrop leaders


The maker of Jeep SUVs and Ram trucks has snagged the head of Amazon.com Inc.'s Alexa Automotive division as its chief technology officer.

Ned Curic joining Stellantis NV's leadership is another example of the auto industry and Silicon Valley swapping talent. Technology is an area of growing importance to vehicles, and both traditional automakers and tech companies are looking to compete in the transforming space.

General Motors Co. on Tuesday also announced it had tapped executives from delivery service Postmates Inc., ride-hailing company Lyft Inc. and a Chinese EV maker for its BrightDrop commercial EV business.

At Stellantis, Curic will report to CEO Carlos Tavares starting Aug. 30. He will manage all information technology resources for the world's fourth-largest automaker. Since 2017, he's been responsible for building Amazon's automotive business as vice president of Alexa Automotive.

Prior to that, Curic was Toyota Motor Corp.'s connected executive vice president managing engineers, data scientists and designers after a stint as the Japanese automaker's chief technology officer in North America.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to work closely with Ned, who will play an integral and strategic role in setting the company’s strategic mobility direction, development and future growth for being at the forefront in the automotive industry," Tavares said in a statement. "Ned joins us at the perfect time to shape Stellantis in the context of unprecedented shift of our industry.”

At GM, BrightDrop, which is based in the San Francisco Bay area, named Anthony Armenta as chief technology officer, Rachad Youssef as chief product officer, Shaluinn Fullove as chief people officer and Steve Hornyak as chief revenue officer.

Armenta will oversee the company's technological strategy in working with delivery and logistics companies electrifying their fleets. He previously led the teams building robotic sidewalk delivery platform for Uber Technologies Inc.'s Postmates as vice president of software engineering for serve robotics and has been on the forefront of technology trends from smartphones and tablets to consumer robotics.

Youssef will lead the design and development of BrightDrop's vehicles and software products. He brings nearly 25 years of technology product development experience, including most recently as vice president of software product management for Chinese EV maker NIO Inc. He was responsible for the autonomous vehicle roadmap and the in-car experience.

Fullove will be in charge of recruitment. She has nearly two decades of experience in the tech industry with roles at Lyft and Google. Most recently, she was the global head of people for autonomous technology and rideshare platforms at Lyft.

Hornyak joins BrightDrop from delivery solutions provider Get Fabric Inc., where he was the chief commercial officer. Hornyak helped Fabric clients improve their logistics with automated micro-fulfillment centers. He will be based in Atlanta.

“We’re thrilled to have Anthony, Rachad, Shaluinn and Steve join our growing, visionary team,” BrightDrop CEO Travis Katz said in a statement.

“Their robust backgrounds — spanning robotics, autonomy and machine learning — will enable us to accelerate our vision of delivering better cities while helping decarbonize the last mile of delivery.”

bnoble@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble