CTO of Hyperloop One steps down in exec reshuffle

Steven Loeb · July 1, 2016 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/4655

The company just had the first successful test of Hyperloop technology, but tension was growing

I'm excited for Hyperloop, the high-speed rail system unveiled by Elon Musk all the way back in 2013. It promises to get people from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 30 minutes, about a third of the time it takes a plane to get there, not counting all the other nonsense you have to do in the airport.  

Now someone just has to build it and there are a number of companies try to do just that, including Hyperloop Transportation Technologies and AECOM, with one of the best funded companies dedicated solely to this pursuit being Hyperloop One.

However, simply raising the most money doesn't mean that things are necessarily going go smoothly, and now the company has seen a big shakeup at the top of its ranks. Brogan BamBrogan, co-founder and chief technology officer at Hyperloop One, has stepped down, it has been confirmed to VatorNews. BamBrogan also served as an Interim Chief Executive Officer of the company in 2015.

He will be replaced by Josh Giegel, who was also promoted to co-founder and president of engineering. He has also joined the board of directors at Hyperloop One.

"Hyperloop One is pleased to announce that Josh Giegel has been promoted to President of Engineering and appointed to the Board of Directors. Josh has been a valued engineering leader as co-founder and SVP Engineering since the company's inception," Hyperloop One said in a statement.

"Prior to joining Hyperloop One in November 2014, Josh held senior positions at SpaceX, Virgin Galactic and Echogen Power Systems. We're excited for him to take this new expanded role. Co-founder and CTO Brogan BamBrogan has decided to take a step back from Hyperloop One. We appreciate everything that he has done to put us on the path to creating the world's first Hyperloop."

BamBrogan isn't the only Hyperloop One team member to leave recently. Afshin Pishevar, the company's chief legal officer, who is also brother co-founder and chairman Shervin Pishevar, as well as his assistant general counsel David Pendergast, were both reportedly forced out last week. Pendergast's LinkedIn profile shows that he left the company in June, while Pishevar's still says he works there, though he is no longer listed as part of the team on the company's website. 

Something's obviously happening over at Hyperloop One, but what it isn't exactly clear, though ReCode, who first reported this news, chalks the moves to "internal tension brewing at the company among the executives," without getting any more specific than that. 

The timing of all these internal moves is interesting, since this comes only a month and a half after the company performed the first successful test of the Hyperloop technology in early May.

That happened on the same day that it raised an $80 million round of funding from existing investors Sherpa Ventures, EightVC, ZhenFundand Caspian Venture Partners, and new investors 137 Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Fast Digital, Western Technology Investment, SNCF, the French national rail company, and GE Ventures. The company has raised $92.6 million in total funding. 

In light of all that, it would seem like thing would be going well, but there has apparently been some disagreement on where to take the company from here. 

Founded in 2014, Hyperloop One, formerly Hyperloop Technologies, says it is "reinventing transportation to eliminate barriers of time and distance by using Hyperloop transport to move cargo and passengers immediately, safely, efficiently, and sustainably."

Hyperloop is a rail system in which passengers will sit in pods, or capsules, which produce air that will create a cushion to reduce friction. The air cushions won’t actually move the pods. Instead, the pods will be accelerated by what basically amounts to a rolled-out electric motor. The whole system would be solar-powered using solar panels installed on the tubes, which would generate excess energy that could be stored so that the whole thing could run 24 hours a day.

(Image source: hyperloop-one.com)

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