US autonomous truck tech Embark boosts its ranks

Embark Trucks has announced an expansion of its senior leadership team to fuel the company's rapid growth.

US autonomous truck tech Embark boosts its ranks
Embark is ramping up in the autonomous truck tech arena

Citigroup MD Richard Hawwa has been tapped to serve as CFO and former Orrick Partner and GE executive Siddhartha "Sid" Venkatesan will join as chief legal officer.

Hawwa and Venkatesan bring decades of combined industry expertise and will work to strategically expand Embark's financial and legal functions as the company begins commercializing self-driving trucks. Both Richard and Sid will be the first to serve in their roles.

Hawwa will join Embark with over fifteen years of investment banking experience, and most recently served as a MD at Citigroup, leading coverage across the global mobility sector. Hawwa has worked closely with companies advising on strategic matters and assisting on capital raising transactions, including recent transactions for Li-Cycle, Lucid Motors and Ouster.

Richard Hawwa

In addition, Hawwa has experience across the broader mobility ecosystem, having managed transactions for Adient, Allison Transmission, Aptiv, Dana Automotive, Goodyear Tire, Hyundai Motor Group, Lear Corporation, and Tesla.

"Having had the privilege of working with many mobility companies during my career, Embark stands out as a special company with visionary founders and a deep and experienced team that will continue to lead the industry of autonomous trucking," says Hawwa.

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"Embark has built a unique business model centered around its technology which will enhance the way we live by increasing safety and making the world more environmentally friendly."

Siddhartha "Sid" Venkatesan, joins Embark with nearly two decades of legal and business experience in the technology and industrial space. Most recently, he served as general counsel, chief operating officer, and corporate secretary at Komline-Sanderson, a manufacturer of capital equipment and process solutions for industrial firms.

Siddhartha "Sid" Venkatesan

Before Komline-Sanderson, he was executive counsel and chief IP counsel at GE Digital, where he led negotiations of commercial deals and M&A totaling hundreds of millions of dollars, including with companies such as Apple, China Telecom, Intel, and others, and oversaw General Electric's Industrial Internet of Things IP strategy. Venkatesan was also a partner at Orrick, Herrington, and Sutcliffe LLP, where he served Fortune 500 companies and startups alike across a broad array of technology verticals for over twelve years as a technology lawyer specialising in high stakes litigation, intellectual property strategy, and other commercial matters.

Venkatesan holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, a JD from NYU School of Law, and a BS in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Cornell University, concentrating in Automotive Engineering. He was also a software developer for several years.

"Throughout my career, I've helped young and mature companies alike navigate complex legal and regulatory challenges in emerging industries. I could not be more delighted to bring that expertise to a surging company like Embark," says Venkatesan.

"Embark's technology has the promise to dramatically transform the freight industry for the better, enabling shippers and carriers to deliver loads safely and efficiently, while also improving the quality of life for the industry's highly-skilled drivers. I look forward to helping the Embark team execute on its mission to deliver industry-best AV technology while always prioritising ethics, safety, and compliance."

"We are thrilled to welcome Richard and Sid to Embark," said Embark co-founder and chief executive officer Alex Rodrigues.

"Both bring the relevant expertise to help Embark remain highly competitive as the freight industry begins adopting AV technology. Together, these leaders offer unique perspectives as change agents and enable Embark to excel, building an organisational culture that supports the transformational change that our technology represents."

The expansion of Embark's leadership team comes on the heels of major business developments at the company as it pushes toward the commercialisation of self-driving trucks.

Earlier this month, Embark unveiled its go-to-market strategy with the launch of the Embark Partner Development Program, an approach that works with the existing freight ecosystem to integrate and scale self-driving trucks within carrier networks. In March, Embark announced the launch of the Embark Universal Interface, an industry-first innovation designed to integrate Embark's self-driving platform with trucks from any of the major US truck OEMs. The company also debuted its work zone navigation technology and announced a first-of-its-kind partnership with the Arizona Department of Transportation to share data and collaborate on highway work zone safety.

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