TuSimple Holdings, Inc., an autonomous trucking company, announced that it terminated its CEO, Xiaodi Hou, following an internal investigation by the company’s board of directors.
According to the San Diego-based company, some of its employees worked during paid hours for Hydron Inc., a startup with operations in China that also focuses on autonomous trucks.
TuSimple added in a securities filing that the employees shared confidential information with Hydron, which was started by TuSimple co-founder Mo Chen.
TuSimple’s board of directors did not disclose the value of the alleged shared confidential information.
However, Reuters reports that Hou clapped back and said his removal was “without cause.” Hou went on to say, “It is so unfair to let politics get in the way of the dream we were pursuing together.”
The move follows a report by the Wall Street Journal that TuSimple faced federal investigations into the company’s relationship with Hydron.
Under U.S. Law, TuSimple is required to disclose its technical and financial transactions with Hydron. The FBI and SEC are looking to determine if TuSimple’s executives illegally financed Hydron and provided the startup with technology developed in the U.S. and if such a move defrauded investors.
TuSimple was founded in 2015, and in 2021, Chen started Hydron. He incorporated the company in Delaware, Hong Kong and China with the plan to make hydrogen-powered trucks in North America.
In 2021, TuSimple said it had 70 autonomous trucks globally. The company also said it completed an 80-mile route with a semitruck without a human on board or any human intervention.