Ron Medford, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s deputy director, will leave the government agency to join Google Inc. in January.
Medford will be the director of safety for Google’s self-driving cars. Ron Medford has a career of more than 40 years in government and has been a key player in finalizing the 2017-2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) requirements to a fleetwide average of 54.5 mpg in 2025. Medford has been involved in all of the key safety issues NHTSA has investigated in recent years and also in setting new safety rules.
Medford’s appointment shows how seriously Google is moving ahead with its driverless cars program. In an email sent to staff at NHTSA, Medford said the move was “bittersweet.” “While I am excited to embark on this new adventure, I am deeply saddened to leave this agency and the many incredible staff who have committed your lives to making people safer on our roadways. I am at a loss for words to describe the emotion and gratitude I feel for the people I have come to know and admire at NHTSA,” Medford wrote.
Medford joined NHTSA in 2003 and was named acting deputy administrator in January 2009.