TuSimple CEO fired over improper ties to Chinese firm Hydron

TuSimple, partly owned by UPS, makes self-driving vehicles, a know-how which may be among the many improvements to assist decrease longer-run inflation within the transport sector.

Source: TuSimple

Self-driving truck startup TuSimple has fired its CEO, Xiaodi Hou, after an inner investigation discovered improper dealings and potential tech switch to a Chinese firm led by TuSimple’s now-departed co-founder, the corporate stated Monday.

The San Diego-based startup’s operations chief, Ersin Yumer, will function interim CEO and president whereas TuSimple’s board of administrators searches for a everlasting successor. Hou was additionally the corporate’s chief know-how officer.

Shares of TuSimple had been down greater than 40% in noon buying and selling following the information.

TuSimple stated in a regulatory submitting Monday that primarily based on an investigation by its board of administrators, it believes a few of its workers spent paid hours in 2021 working for Hydron, a Chinese startup creating autonomous hydrogen-powered vehicles. Those workers shared confidential data with Hydron earlier than a nondisclosure settlement was signed, TuSimple stated.

The board’s investigation started in July and is ongoing, the corporate stated.

The firm’s relationship to Hydron is beneath investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Securities and Exchange Commission, in accordance to a report Monday by The Wall Street Journal. Investigators are inspecting whether or not TuSimple’s management failed to make required disclosures about its transactions with Hydron and whether or not the dealings harmed TuSimple buyers, in accordance to the report.

A consultant for TuSimple declined to touch upon the specifics of the Journal’s report.

Hou co-founded TuSimple in 2015 and have become its CEO in March of this 12 months. Shortly after taking the highest job, he advised CNBC that he wished to be an “evangelist” for the potential of autonomous trucking.

“Who is the best person to lead this company? It’s me! Because I am a relentless decision-making machine who is backed by the technical background,” Hou stated in an interview with CNBC on March 30. 

Hydron was based in 2021 by Mo Chen, one other co-founder of TuSimple who had beforehand served as its government chairman. Hydron initially introduced plans to construct electrical vehicles powered by hydrogen gas cells in North America, however its operations have thus far been principally in China.

TuSimple will report its third-quarter outcomes on Monday after the market closes however has delayed its convention name to Tuesday morning.

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