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Driverless car startup Zoox taps former Intel's exec as new CEO

[NEW YORK] Autonomous driving startup Zoox Inc. named former Intel Corp. executive Aicha Evans as chief executive officer, months after the dramatic exit of co-founder Tim Kentley-Klay.

Evans spent 12 years at Intel, and was most recently a senior vice president and chief strategy officer at the giant chipmaker. She will start Feb. 26 as Zoox CEO and a board member, the Foster City, California-based company said Monday in a statement.

Zoox fired Kentley-Klay in August, which the Australian native said came "without a warning, cause or right of reply." Kentley-Klay took to Twitter to criticize the board for their decision, charging that the directors were "optimizing for a little money in hand at the expense of profound progress."

Zoox raised an additional US$500 million last July, giving it a US$3.2 billion valuation at time. Instead of retro-fitting existing cars with fancy sensors and smart software, Kentley-Klay and co-founder Jesse Levinson, have said they wanted to make an autonomous vehicle from the ground up. The startup aims to create a fully driverless vehicle ready for the road by 2020.

"Mobility is approaching a major inflection point, and Zoox has set itself apart from entrenched players as the only company creating a solution purpose-built to meet the needs of a fully autonomous future," Evans said in the statement. "I look forward to helping the company's exceptionally talented team continue to grow as we unlock more technical and commercial milestones."

Zoox in December became the first company to win approval to transport members of the public in its driverless test vehicles in California.