They're not CEOs, but they're the most influential people in the self-driving field – Part 1

Gaby Walton


While Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and founders tend to get the most attention in startups, even the best leaders need a strong team behind them. In the self-driving car industry, it can be difficult for outsiders to identify the most critical players in the field. Most companies are still testing and refining self-driving technologies. It may need years before these technologies become widely available, so it remains uncertain which company's product will be the ultimate success.

To identify the less-known but critical "stars" of the self-driving field, the media recently surveyed analysts, venture capitalists, industry experts, and self-driving car companies to identify the most influential employees who are not CEOs but have had a significant impact on their companies and even the industry. Among them, 11 executives from companies such as Tesla, Morgan Stanley, and Zoox are the most noteworthy.

1. Lia Theodsiou-Pisanelli, Head of Partner Product and Program of Aurora

Theodosius-Pisanelli was the former trade negotiator for the Obama administration, and now is Aurora's Head of Partner Relationship, Product and Program. During her tenure, the Amazon-backed startup has signed deals with blue-chip companies such as Toyota, Paccar, and Volvo.

Teodosi-Pisanelli and her team are responsible for helping Aurora with the products it builds for its growing number of partners and running programs to deliver those products. She also helped coordinate the employees of Uber's self-driving division, ATG, into Aurora, following its acquisition of ATG in 2020. Before joining Aurora in 2019, Theodosius-Pisanelli served as Lyft's Director of Business Development and Strategy, focusing on self-driving technology. (Source: Tencent News)

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