TuSimple Holdings Inc. co-founder Mo Chen has taken control of the self-driving trucking company as federal authorities continue to investigate TuSimple’s relationship with Chen’s other startup, a Chinese hydrogen-trucking company.
filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday shows that Chen has 59% of the voting power at the San Diego-based company, giving him control as of Nov. 9, a day before the company announced it had ousted its board of directors. Chen acquired the stake through stock purchases using his family trust and British Virgin Islands-based entities, according to the securities filing.
Chen didn’t respond to a request for comment. TuSimple’s newly appointed chief executive officer, Cheng Lu, said, “We have a strong sense of urgency to put our company back on track and regain trust from all stakeholders.”
The consolidation of power under Chen is part of a dramatic series of recent events at TuSimple. Its prior chief executive, who was fired by the board of directors, turned around and ousted the board. With these changes, and now Chen’s controlling stake, TuSimple said it would no longer follow some of the corporate-governance rules that apply to most other companies listed on a U.S. stock exchange.
The leadership and ownership changes follow a report by The Wall Street Journal report last month that TuSimple and its leadership faced investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the SEC and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. — a national-security panel known as Cfius — into whether the company improperly financed and transferred technology to Chen’s recently formed startup, Hydron Inc.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.
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