Velodyne Lidar CEO Steps Down

Without stating a reason, Dr Anand Gopalan departs the global leader in lidar amongst rumblings of internal unrest.

By Joel Davies -

Velodyne Lidar, Inc. a global lidar company, has announced that its CEO Dr Anand Gopalan will step down as CEO and a member of the Board, effective July 30, 2021. Gopalan did not give a reason but the news follows from previous internal unrest.

In connection with the announcement, the Velodyne Board has created an Office of the Chief Executive (OCE), comprising several members of Velodyne’s senior leadership team that will lead the company in the absence of a CEO.

The Board has also retained an executive search firm to conduct a search to identify a successor. The company states that Dr Gopalan intends to continue supporting the Company in an advisory capacity following his departure.

Rumours of unrest circle around events that transpired in June, when Velodyne’s founder and former chairman, David Hall, wrote a letter to the board requesting the resignation of several senior members, including Gopalan. Hall and his wife, Marta Thoma Hall, who was Marketing Chief, were removed from their positions with the company noting a lack of honesty.

“Velodyne Lidar is on the cutting edge of innovation in the lidar industry, executing a clearly defined, long-term growth strategy for the benefit of our shareholders and stakeholders”, said Dr Joseph B. Culkin, PhD, Chairman of Velodyne Lidar’s Board of Directors. “Anand and the Board have established a best-in-class management team that continues to expand Velodyne’s leadership position, setting production records and delivering significant progress on our growth plans.

“Leveraging our deep bench of talent across the organization, we are confident Velodyne will continue growing its robust pipeline and meeting the expanding demand for our products and solutions. Velodyne not only has an ambitious strategy and product roadmap in place but also has a dedicated team prepared to realize the compelling opportunities ahead”.

Velodyne Lidar CEO
Velodyne’s Lidar technology implemented onto a display vehicle. Image: Velodyne Lidar.

The largest developer of Lidar, Velodyne recently began building out its local technical support, inventory and RMA infrastructure in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region to support customer needs. Connected to this, it also established a centre of excellence in India and is growing its local engineering teams to support ADAS applications in South Korea.

Dr Gopalan stated, “I am honoured to have led Velodyne through a pivotal time in the Company’s history, and believe that now, with it well-positioned as a public company, is the right time to transition to the next phase of leadership.

“I am confident that Velodyne’s talented team – guided by Jim, Drew, Kathy and Sinclair, as well as the team of world-class engineers under Chief Technology Officer Matt Rekow – will take the Company to its next level of success. Velodyne is ideally positioned to succeed, and I am pleased to continue to provide support as an advisor during the transition”.

Velodyne says its previously disclosed guidance for 2021 revenue – between $77 million and $94 million – and business outlook remain unchanged. However, following the announcement, its stock price fell by 4.52% as of the 19th of July, 2021. Velodyne will report second-quarter financial results for the period ended June 30, 2021, following the close of the market on Thursday, August 5, 2021.

Dr Culkin continued, “Jim, Drew, Kathy and Sinclair possess decades of collective experience, and we are confident they are the right leaders to continue overseeing and implementing Velodyne’s growth strategy. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank them for assuming these additional roles and express our collective confidence this is the right team to lead us through this transition and accelerate value creation for our employees, customers and investors.

“I would also like to thank Anand for his innumerable contributions as CEO, and for leading Velodyne to where it is today as a publicly traded industry leader. We look forward to his continued support during this transition”.

You can find more information about Velodyne Lidar and the resignation of its CEO on its website.

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