Canoo undergoes leadership changes on Board of Directors


A change in leadership at Canoo Inc., the electric car manufacturer with a plant in Oklahoma City and a battery facility in Pryor.

The company president Josette Sheeran has resigned from Canoo’s board of directors after holding the position since July of 2021. Another board member, Rainer Schmueckle also resigned.

“I look forward to continuing working with Josette in her new role as strategic advisor to the CEO. Josette was instrumental in the re-founding of Canoo, our government partnerships such as with the State of Oklahoma, and our selection by NASA to provide the Crew Transportation Vehicles for the Artemis launches,” Canoo’s Chief Executive Officer and Executive Chairman Tony Aquila said in a release.

Canoo Names Ambassador Josette Sheeran President | Press | Canoo | Electric  Vehicles

Sheeran was an international leader, decorated diplomat, humanitarian and has led negotiations on trade, intellectual property, supply chains, technology, labor and the environment across the world. As head of the World Food Program, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020, she led the world’s biggest humanitarian supply chains, with more than 15,000 staff and logistics serving more than 90 nations faced with disasters and wars. She has raised financial support for public and private partnerships worth more than $1b bringing innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Since February 2021 she has served as the Executive Chair of the McCain Institute for International Leadership. Previously, Josette served as Vice Chair of the World Economic Forum; UN Special Envoy, leading a successful effort to end a cholera epidemic in Haiti; Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Program; United States Under Secretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs under President George W. Bush; Deputy U.S. Trade Representative and Ambassador covering Asia, Africa, labor, environment, intellectual property, and trade capacity building.

Earlier this month, Canoo announced  Deborah Diaz, former chief technology officer at NASA and chief information officer for science and technology at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would join the board, along with James Chena, shareholder at the law firm of Babst, Calland, Clements and Zomnir in the firm’s transportation technology and energy practice, according to a release.

“I’m excited to strengthen the board with the additions of Deborah and James,” said Tony Aquila, Investor, Executive Chairman, and CEO of Canoo. “As innovators and leaders, they will support Canoo and its team achieve our strategic growth objectives and increase our market penetration.” 

Deborah B. Diaz previously served as former Chief Technology Officer and Deputy Chief Information Officer at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and CIO for Science and Technology at U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Ms. Diaz currently serves on the board of directors of Archer Aviation, Primis Financial, and ZeroAvia. Ms. Diaz is also Chief Executive Officer of Catalyst ADV, a technology and strategic growth advisory firm.

James C. Chen is former Vice President of Regulatory Affairs & Deputy General Counsel at Tesla and former Vice President of Public Policy & Chief Regulatory Counsel at Rivian Automotive. Chen is currently a shareholder at the law firm of Babst, Calland, Clements and Zomnir in the firm’s transportation technology and energy practice.

 As Canoo scales and manufactures more electric vehicles, there will be an increased need to assure that risk-based data and system protections are in place to create a world-class infrastructure. I am excited to be part of the Canoo board and to help establish the roadmap for Canoo’s digital transformation journey,” said Diaz.

 “What excites me about Canoo is its approach of focusing on commercial fleets by taking the company’s transformative technology and tailoring innovative approaches to where the demand for electrification is the greatest,” said Chen. “That vision of combining the benefits of EVs with the demand of fleet owners and operators is incredibly inspiring.”

The current independent members of the board include:

Thomas Dattilo is an accomplished executive and advisor who held executive roles at several automotive industry companies, including CEO of Viper Motor Car Company, a Chrysler company, Chairman, President, and CEO of Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, and various senior positions with Dana Corporation. Mr. Dattilo is currently on the boards of L3 Harris Technologies and Haworth.

Claudia Romo Edelman is an award-winning social entrepreneur and a catalyst for positive change. She’s led marketing and advocacy initiatives for global organizations, including the United Nations, UNICEF, and the World Economic Forum. Currently she is Founder and CEO of We Are All Human Foundation, a foundation dedicated to advancing the agenda of equality, diversity, and inclusion.

Arthur Kingsbury has nearly five decades of experience in business, finance, and corporate governance. He has served on the boards of Solera Holdings, Dolan Media Co., Remark Holdings, NetRatings, Affiliated Publications, and McCaw Cellular Communications.

Foster Chiang is former Vice Chairman of TPK Holding Co. Currently he is on the board of TES Touch Embedded Solutions (Xiamen) Co. and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Taft School.

Debra von Storch is a former Partner at Ernst & Young, where she specialized in advising early-stage to rapid-growth companies. She currently serves as an advisory board member of Varidesk and a board member of the North Texas Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors.