TuSimple CEO fired for inappropriate ties to Chinese company Hydron

TuSimple, part-owned by UPS, makes self-driving trucks, a technology that could be among the innovations to reduce long-term inflation in the transportation sector.

Source: TuSimple

Autonomous Truck Start TuSimple fired its CEO, Xiaodi Hou, after an internal investigation revealed improper dealings and a possible transfer of technology to a Chinese company run by the now deceased co-founder of TuSimple, the company said on Monday.

The San Diego-based startup’s chief operating officer, Ersin Yumer, will serve as interim CEO and president while TuSimple’s board searches for a permanent successor. Hou was also the company’s Chief Technology Officer.

Shares of TuSimple fell more than 40% in early trading following the news.

TuSimple said in a regulatory filing Monday that, based on an investigation by its board of directors, it believes some of its employees spent paid hours in 2021 working for Hydron, a Chinese startup developing self-driving trucks. to hydrogen. These employees shared confidential information with Hydron before signing a nondisclosure agreement, TuSimple said.

The council’s investigation began in July and is continuing, the company said.

The company’s relationship with Hydron is under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to a report published Monday by The Wall Street Journal. Investigators are investigating whether TuSimple’s management failed to make required disclosures about its transactions with Hydron and whether the transactions harmed TuSimple’s investors, according to the report.

TuSimple did not immediately respond to request for comment on the federal investigations report.

Hydron was founded in 2021 by Mo Chen, co-founder of TuSimple who previously served as its executive chairman. Hydron initially announced plans to build hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks in North America, but its operations have so far been primarily in China.

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