TuSimple Fires CEO Over Illegal Ties With Chinese Firm
The CEO of the self-driving truck company, Xiaodi Hou, was recently fired just after an internal investigation was conducted that revealed unscrupulous dealings and negotiations between the ex-CEO and a Chinese firm.
TuSimple stated that Dr. Ersin Yumer, TuSimple's Executive Vice President of Operations, has been confirmed to represent the company's Interim Chief Executive Officer as well as President while the executive search is underway. TuSimple's Lead Independent Director, Brad Buss, will serve as Chairman of the Board. The Board is also openly looking for new independent individuals to join the Board.
'I would like to thank Xiaodi for his many contributions to TuSimple. His knowledge and vision have been invaluable to the development of TuSimple's industry-leading technology and the growth of the Company. As we look ahead, I am delighted that Ersin has agreed to help us shepherd the Company through the next phases of its development.' said Buss. 'Transparency, good judgment and accountability are critical values to our Company. We take these values extremely seriously.'
'I look forward to working with the Board and the talented TuSimple Team to continue to move the Company forward,' said Dr. Yumer. 'The leadership team firmly believes in the benefits of our technology and is committed to the Company's commercialization roadmap.'
The autonomous truck company announced in a company statement that, based on an investigative process with its board of directors, it claims to believe that some of its staff worked for Hydron, a Chinese firm developing self-driving hydrogen-powered trucks, in 2021. According to TuSimple, those workers decided to share classified data with the Chinese firm prior to signing a non-disclosure agreement.
“The board’s investigation began in July and is ongoing”, the company said.
In accordance with The Wall Street Journal, the FBI and the Securities Exchange Commission are looking into TuSimple's ties with Hydron. According to the report, investigators are currently looking into whether TuSimple's leadership failed to provide disclosures about its own transaction data with Hydron and if those exchanges negatively affected TuSimple investors.
Mo Chen, one of TuSimple's co-founder who previously worked as its executive chairman, established Hydron last year. Hydron originally announced its intention to produce hydrogen-powered trucks in North America, however its activities have until now been based mainly in China.