Honoree: Jeff Bleich

Business of Law 2022

Chief Legal Officer
UC Berkeley School of Law

Jeff Bleich is the chief legal officer at Cruise, an autonomous vehicle company that is now the first company approved to operate a driverless service for the public in a major city in America.

As chief legal officer, Bleich has led Cruise through an extraordinarily productive period. He has led the legal team’s efforts to successfully obtain regulatory approvals from the California DMV and CPUC to operate the first driverless ridehail service in a major city in the U.S. The Cruise legal team has also now submitted to NHTSA the first-ever petition for a fully purpose-built autonomous ridehail vehicle for operation in the United States. Under Bleich they helped close a $2.5 billion funding round this past year that increased Cruise’s valuation to $30 billion. Two months later, Bleich joined the Crown Prince of Dubai in executing an agreement for Cruise to become the exclusive autonomous ridehail service for Dubai, and subsequently executed an agreement with Walmart to provide autonomous delivery service in the United States.

Internally, Bleich has helped to pioneer the development of Cruise’s Safety Management System, its user agreements, community standards, privacy policy, and AI ethics programs. Throughout the pandemic, Cruise’s legal team has led efforts to provide meals from the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank both by staffing the Food Bank and supporting the Cruise For Good delivery program that has delivered two million free meals to families in need. Bleich has overseen Cruise Legal’s pro bono commitment, diversity equity and inclusion program, and has staffed clinics to provide immigration services to people seeking to become naturalized American citizens.

Bleich has also served in government and public agencies in a wide variety of roles over the past 20 years, including as special counsel to President Obama in the White House.

Since returning from his service as U.S. Ambassador to Australia in 2014, Bleich’s career has been devoted principally to addressing challenges of digital technologies for democratic nations and the impacts of climate change.