Friday, June 04, 2021

Battle for Velodyne Control Goes On

BusinessWire: David Hall, the beneficial owner of approximately 52.2% of the outstanding common stock of Velodyne Lidar issued an open letter to the Company’s Board of Directors. Few quotes:

"Today, I am writing to you to urge that the following Board members step down: Chairman Brad Culkin, Chief Executive Officer Anand Gopalan, director Michael Dee, and director Christopher Thomas. I believe that each of these individuals has breached stockholders’ confidence and destroyed significant value in the Company.

From my vantage point, perhaps the greatest offense has been that this Board has allowed Dr. Gopalan’s actions to go unchecked as Chief Executive Officer while he has manipulated the truth to customers and investors alike.

Recently, Dr. Gopalan attempted to re-write history in a September 2020 investor presentation jointly hosted by Graf Industrial and Velodyne Lidar management teams when he stated: “It gives me great pleasure to have the opportunity to tell you about this really exciting story that I’ve been part of for 4.5 years, starting from a couple of guys in the Founder’s boat yard, and building this incredible technology that’s changing society and changing the world in so many different ways.”

The reality is that Velodyne Lidar did not begin with “two guys” in a boat yard, but was founded in 1983 and took decades to achieve such high-growth and significant technological advancement. In 2016, the year Dr. Gopalan first joined the Company, Velodyne Lidar was profitable, earning its highest revenue to date, and producing and shipping all lidar products from a 60,000 sq. ft. building in Morgan Hill, CA with over 100 engineers. In stark contrast, since Dr. Gopalan has emerged as CEO, the Company’s revenue has steadily declined.

In addition, I am calling on Mr. Culkin to step down because I believe that he has also taken several liberties with the truth and has acted as a rubberstamp on Dr. Gopalan’s actions, including by approving a robust, metric-free Chief Executive Officer compensation package."

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