TuSimple fires chief executive, Xiaodi Hou
- Xiaodi Hou, TuSimple’s former chief executive and CTO
- Removed from his position as chairman of the board and as a member of the company’s government security committee
- TuSimple and its leadership, principally Hou, faced FBI, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and Committee on Foreign Investment investigations.
- TuSimple announced that Ersin Yumer has agreed to serve as interim president and chief executive
Autonomous driving company TuSimple, under federal investigation for improper ties to — and transfer of technology to — another Chinese startup, has announced the decision by its board of directors to fire Xiaodi Hou, its chief executive and chief technology officer.
Hou also was removed from his position as chairman of the board and as a member of the company’s government security committee, effective Oct. 30, according to a TuSimple release.
A securities filing said an investigation by the company’s board of directors found that TuSimple this year shared confidential information with Hydron, a Chinese startup company with operations mostly in China and financed by Chinese investors, according to media reports. TuSimple’s decision to share the confidential information with Hydron hadn’t been disclosed to the board before TuSimple entered into a business deal with Hydron, according to media reports.
“These actions have been taken in connection with an ongoing investigation led by the audit committee of the board that led the board to conclude that a change of chief executive officer was necessary,” TuSimple said in a press release.
The Journal reported that TuSimple and its leadership, principally Hou, faced FBI, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and Committee on Foreign Investment investigations. FBI and SEC investigators are looking at whether Hou breached fiduciary duties and securities laws by failing to properly disclose TuSimple’s relationship with Hydron, which was founded in 2021 by TuSimple co-founder Mo Chen that says it is developing autonomous hydrogen-powered trucks.
The board in July began investigating similar issues, including whether TuSimple incubated Hydron in China without informing regulators, the TuSimple board, or its shareholders, according to the same report.
“Fundamentally, we lost trust and confidence in Dr. Hou’s judgment, decision-making, and ability to lead the company as chief executive,” TuSimple’s board of directors said in a statement.
TuSimple announced that Ersin Yumer, TuSimple’s executive vice president of operations, has agreed to serve as interim president and chief executive during the period of the executive search for Hou’s replacement. Brad Buss, the company’s lead independent director, will be chairman of TuSimple’s board, which also is searching to add new independent members to the board, according to the release.
“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,” Buss said in the statement. “As we look ahead, I am delighted that Ersin has agreed to help us shepherd the company through the next phases of its development. “Transparency, good judgment and accountability are critical values to our company. We take these values extremely seriously.”
Yumer added: “I look forward to working with the board and the talented TuSimple team to continue to move the company forward. The leadership team firmly believes in the benefits of our technology and is committed to the company’s commercialization road map.”