Executive Chairman of the Board
David Hall served as chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors of Velodyne’s predecessor, Velodyne Acoustics, Inc., from 1983, when he founded the company, until Velodyne was formed as an independent entity in December 2015. Mr. Hall served as the chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors of Velodyne since December 2015 and transitioned from chief executive officer to executive chairman, effective January 2020. In his role as executive chairman, Mr. Hall will remain actively involved in the post-combination company’s product and technology development strategy. Since December 2015, Mr. Hall has also served as chief executive officer of Velodyne Acoustics, LLC, a currently unrelated entity holding the assets of Velodyne’s former acoustics business following a spin-off transaction in August 2016. Throughout his career, Mr. Hall has been inventing and building products across diverse industries including precision machining, loudspeaker design, acoustical engineering, electronics, microprocessors, real-time systems, vision-recovery technology and robotics. His inventions include the servo-driven subwoofer, which established Velodyne Acoustics as a leading company in the home theater movement of the 1980s and 1990s. After competing as one of the original entrants in the DARPA Grand Challenge, in 2005 Mr. Hall invented 3D Lidar to give autonomous vehicles real-time 360-degree vision. Possessing substantial experience in the industry, Mr. Hall is a thought leader on matters related to lidar and its pivotal role in the autonomous revolution. In 2018, Mr. Hall was honored as the Inventor of the Year by the Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation in recognition of his significant contributions to lidar technology. Mr. Hall holds a B.S. from Case Western Reserve University.
Chairman of the Board
Dr. Anand Gopalan is the company’s chief executive officer and president. Dr. Gopalan has served as Velodyne’s chief executive officer since January 2020 and as a member of Velodyne’s board of directors since July 2019. Prior to becoming Velodyne’s chief executive officer in January 2020, Dr. Gopalan had served as Velodyne’s chief technology officer since June 2016. In his role as chief technology officer, Dr. Gopalan was responsible for all the new technology and advanced product development at Velodyne. He further worked alongside Mr. Hall on technology and business strategy, and was the technical face of Velodyne with all its major customers. Dr. Gopalan brings close to fifteen years of experience in electrical engineering, opto-electronics and semiconductors to the post-combination company. Previously, Dr. Gopalan served in various technology executive roles, most recently as vice president of engineering at Rambus Incorporated, a microchip interface and architecture company, from March 2013 until May 2016. From June 2005 to March 2013, Dr. Gopalan served in various roles, including as director of R&D and mixed-signal IP development at Kawasaki Microelectronics, Inc., a microchip company. Dr. Gopalan holds a B.E. in electronics from the University of Mumbai, an M.S. in electrical engineering and a Ph.D. in microsystems from Rochester Institute of Technology.
Marta Thoma Hall
Marta Thoma Hall is the company’s chief marketing officer. Ms. Hall served as vice president of marketing of Velodyne’s predecessor, Velodyne Acoustics, Inc., from 2009 to 2010 and then as president from 2010 until Velodyne was formed as an independent entity in December 2015. Ms. Hall served as Velodyne’s president and chief business development officer from December 2015 to January 2020. Ms. Hall has served as Velodyne’s chief marketing officer and a member of Velodyne’s board of directors since January 2020. Since 2009, Ms. Hall has helped grow Velodyne through a focus on marketing, business development, and leadership. During this time, alongside David Hall, Velodyne’s executive chairman, Ms. Hall led the company through the transition from primarily selling acoustics equipment to developing and selling lidar. Before joining Velodyne’s predecessor in 2009, Ms. Hall operated her own business, engaging with civic entities nationwide. Ms. Hall received the Most Influential Woman in Business Award in 2019 from the San Francisco Business Times. Ms. Hall holds a Master’s Degree from San Francisco State University and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California, Berkeley.
Joseph B. Culkin
Joseph B. Culkin has served as a member of Velodyne’s board of directors since September 2016. In 1987, Mr. Culkin founded New Logic Research, Inc., a provider of high-performance membrane filtration systems, and has served in a variety of capacities including presently as chief technology officer. Mr. Culkin holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. in theoretical fluid mechanics from Johns Hopkins University, and a PhD in chemical engineering from Northwestern University.
Barbara Samardzich has served as a member of Velodyne’s board of directors since October 2016. Ms. Samardzich retired from Ford Motor Company in October 2016 after 26 years in various roles. From November 2005 to January 2016, Ms. Samardzich held various senior leadership positions with Ford Motor Company, including most recently as chief operating officer of Ford Europe, and prior to that, from November 2005 to October 2010, Ms. Samardzich served as the vice president of powertrain operation. Prior to joining Ford, Ms. Samardzich held various engineering positions at Westinghouse Electric Corporation. Ms. Samardzich currently serves on the board of directors of Adient plc, where she is also a member of the audit committee and is chair of the compensation committee, BRP Inc., where she is also chair of the Investment and Risk Committee, and Aktiebolaget SKF. Previously, Ms. Samardzich served on the board of directors of MTS Systems Corporation. Ms. Samardzich holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from University of Florida, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, and an M.S. in engineering management from Wayne State University.
Christopher (Chris) Thomas
Christopher Thomas was most recently a partner with McKinsey & Company from January 2011 to June 2020. Mr. Thomas served as co-Managing Partner for the Firm’s Global Digital Strategy service line as well as its Global IoT service line, and as the leader of its Asia Semiconductor Practice. Mr. Thomas’ client and research work focused on the artificial intelligence, automotive, cloud computing, smart home, server and storage end markets; the automotive, wireless, networking, power, analog, flash memory, and CPU product segments; and the semiconductor equipment, foundry and fabless verticals. Mr. Thomas also founded the CEO Circle, a regular gathering of more than 200 Chinese CxOs and China heads of multinational companies. Prior to McKinsey, Mr. Thomas spent ten years at Intel. Mr. Thomas was the General Manager of Intel China and also held multiple executive roles at Intel’s global headquarters. These included Chief of Staff to Intel’s Chief Sales, Marketing and Strategy Officer. Chris began his career as a private equity investor at The Blackstone Group in New York City. Mr. Thomas is a Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University and an invited member of the US-China Track II Dialogues on the Digital Economy. Mr. Thomas received an MBA from Stanford Business School, where he was an Arjay Miller Scholar, in 2000; a Master of Arts in Political Science, from Stanford University in 2000; and a Bachelor of Science in Economics, summa cum laude, from the Wharton School in 1996.
James A. Graf
James Graf is currently the chief executive officer of Graf and has been in this role since Graf’s inception in June 2018 and was a member of our board of directors from June 2018 to October 2019. Mr. Graf was a director of Platinum Eagle Acquisition Corp., from January 2018 to March 2019. Mr. Graf served as the vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer of Double Eagle Acquisition Corp. from its inception in June 2015 through its business combination with Williams Scotsman, Inc. in November 2017. He served as vice president, chief financial officer, treasurer and secretary of Silver Eagle Acquisition Corp. from its inception in April 2013 through Silver Eagle’s business combination with VDTH, and he served as vice president, chief financial officer, treasurer and secretary of GEE from its inception in February 2011 to its business combination with Row 44, Inc. and Advanced Inflight Alliance AG in January 2013. He was vice chairman of Global Entertainment AG, the German entity holding GEE’s equity in AIA from 2013 to 2014 and special advisor to GEE in 2013. He served as a special advisor to VDTH from 2015 to 2016. From 2008 to 2011 Mr. Graf served as a managing director of TC Capital Ltd., an investment bank, in Singapore. From 2007 to 2008, Mr. Graf was engaged as a consultant to provide financial advisory services to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. In 2001, Mr. Graf founded and became chief executive officer of Praedea, an enterprise software company with operations in the United States, Malaysia and Ukraine. The assets of Praedea were sold in 2006 to Mergent Inc, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Xinhua Finance Ltd., and renamed Mergent Data Technology, Inc., where Mr. Graf continued to serve as chief executive officer from 2006 to 2007. Praedea was renamed PSIC, and currently serves as an investment holding company for Mr. Graf. Mr. Graf continues to be chief executive officer of PSIC. Prior to founding Praedea, Mr. Graf was a managing director at Merrill Lynch, in Singapore from 1998 to 2000 and a consultant to Merrill Lynch in 2001. From 1996 to 1998, Mr. Graf served as a director and then managing director and president of Deutsche Bank’s investment banking entity in Hong Kong, Deutsche Morgan Grenfell (Hong Kong) Ltd. From 1993 to 1996, he was a vice president at Smith Barney in Hong Kong and Los Angeles. From 1987 to 1993, Mr. Graf was an analyst and then associate at Morgan Stanley in New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Singapore. Mr. Graf received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Chicago in 1987.
Michael E. Dee
Currently, Michael Dee is the President and Chief Financial Officer of Graf and has been in this role since September 2018 and also serves as a member of Graf’s board of directors. Mr. Dee was a Senior Advisor to the President for Finance of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in Beijing from January to July 2016 and also served as a member of its Investment Committee. From 2010 to 2015, Mr. Dee managed various private investments, including providing advice to SeaOne Maritime Corp., a startup focused on the monetization of natural gas and gas liquids and based in Texas. Mr. Dee was Senior Managing Director — International of Temasek Holdings Private Limited, Singapore’s sovereign investment company, from 2008 to 2010 and also served as a senior member of its Management Committee and Investment Committee. Prior to joining Temasek, Mr. Dee worked at Morgan Stanley from 1981 to 2007 in a variety of senior positions in its capital markets, mergers and acquisitions and firm management divisions, including acting as Regional Chief Executive Officer for Southeast Asia and as Head of Morgan Stanley’s Houston office. Mr. Dee served as the regional chairman of the Houston branch of Teach For America, Inc. and as a director of the Greater Houston Partnership. He was also appointed Singapore’s Honorary Consul General in Houston. Mr. Dee received a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1981. We believe Mr. Dee is qualified to serve as a member of the post-combination company Board based on his extensive experience in capital markets, corporate finance, private equity and mergers and acquisitions.