LiDAR Maker Velodyne Ousts Founder and Marketing Chief

George PaulPeople on the Move
Velodyne Lidar

Velodyne Lidar-equipped electric car at theIAA International Motor Show Auto Exhibtion. Editorial credit: Dmitry Eagle Orlov / Shutterstock.com

After an investigation, LiDAR manufacturer Velodyne announced it has removed its founder, David Hall, from the head of the company’s Board of Directors. The company also terminated its Chief Marketing Officer, and Dr. Hall’s wife, Marta Thoma Hall.

In their places, Dr. Joseph B. Culkin will become Chairman of the Board and Sally Frykman will take over as CMO.

The dramatic leadership change was spurred by an investigation, which began in December 2020, into alleged inappropriate behavior by the husband and wife team. According to a company press release, the investigation concluded that the Halls “each behaved inappropriately with regard to Board and Company processes, and failed to operate with respect, honesty, integrity, and candor in their dealings with Company officers and directors.”

The company didn’t elaborate further on the couple’s alleged behavior but did also raise concerns about an alleged compensation arrangement between the Halls and a proposed director candidate, under which Mr. Hall and Ms. Hall agreed to compensate the candidate directly in cash for serving as their nominee on the company’s Board.

Dr. Hall’s replacement, Dr. Culkin is no stranger to the company as he is a Velodyne co-founder who served on the company’s Board of Directors since September 2016. In the company’s press release he stated that he looks forward to the new role and expressed his confidence “that under Dr. Gopalan’s strong leadership and with the support of our world-class engineering team, Velodyne Lidar will continue to advance its growth trajectory.”

Frykman, who has been with Velodyne since 2017, most recently served as the company’s Chief Communications Officer. CEO Dr. Anand Gopalan said the company is “confident that her expertise in managing public relations and digital marketing will prove invaluable as we continue to execute on our strategic plan to deliver strong and disciplined growth.”

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