The futuristic high-speed carrier Virgin Hyperloop One expands its leadership position.
CEO Rob Lloyd has left the lead after three years, and Jay Walder, who runs the bike operator Motivate, is now on the way Virgin Hyperloop One said the company on Thursday.
Sir Richard Branson, who resigned as Chairman in October, was replaced by Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman and CEO of the United Arab Emirates DP shipping and logistics company, World.
DP World, which participated in Virgin Hyperloop One's recent round of financing, is now the company's largest investor. DP World first invested in the company in 201
Walder also joins the Board of Directors.
Virgin Hyperloop One said the new management team will focus on commercialization, notably a Hyperloop system proposed in India.
Walder has a long tradition in transportation. Most recently, he led Motivate, the largest bicycle stock company in North America. Motivate, which was acquired by Lyft in July, operates bicycle stock programs in New York as CitiBike, as Capital Bikeshare in Washington DC, and as Ford GoBike, among others in San Francisco.
Walder helped modernize the London mass transit system, managing director of the agency, and then Chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York. He later became CEO of MTR Corporation in Hong Kong.
"I focused on using technology to drive innovation in transportation, so I could not take the opportunity to lead the company that pioneered Hyperloop," Walder said.
Virgin Hyperloop One had a bumpy ride in his short life. The company, which was founded as Hyperloop One after Virgin's investment in October 2017, before being renamed in October 2017, was involved in a process involving one co-founder and several employees. The parties reached an agreement in 2016.
The company has also lost several executives and board members, including co-founder Shervin Pishevar, who was given leave in December after Bloomberg reported several allegations of sexual misconduct. Branson replaced Pishevar, who also stepped down from his venture firm Sherpa Capital.
Virgin Hyperloop One also achieved success by raising funds, partnerships, feasibility studies, and high-speed technology testing. Eles Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, proposed the Hyperloop – a system of pressure-reduced tubing that would hurt people and pack long distances at super-speeds – in a nearly 60-page public white paper in 2013.
Today the company focused on its project in India. The government recently declared the Hyperloop project in Pune-Mumbai a public infrastructure project with DP World and Virgin Hyperloop One international consortium.
The Virgin Hyperloop One-DP World consortium now has to wait and see if it will be granted a concession to the company project. If so, the company expects to begin building the 11km test loop in 2019. Upon completion, Hyperloop can reduce travel time between Mumbai and Pune from about 4 hours to 25 minutes, according to Virgin Hyperloop One.