A Change in Leadership at Canoo Inc


Canoo Inc, the electric car manufacturer with a plant in Oklahoma City and a battery facility in Prior, has recently experienced a change in leadership. This news comes as the company’s president, Jette Sheeran, has resigned from Canoo’s board of directors after holding the position since July of 2021. Another board member, Rer Schmukle, has also resigned.

The Impact of Jette Sheeran

The company’s CEO and executive chairman, Tony Aquila, expressed his gratitude for Jette Sheeran’s contributions, stating, “I look forward to continuing working with Jette in her new role as strategic adviser to the CEO.” Aquila acknowledged Sheeran’s instrumental role in the refounding of Canoo, highlighting the company’s government partnerships, such as with the state of Oklahoma and their selection by NASA to provide crew transportation vehicles for the Artemis launches.

Jette Sheeran’s Accomplishments

Jette Sheeran is recognized as an international leader, decorated diplomat, and humanitarian. She has led negotiations on trade, intellectual property, supply chains, technology, labor, and the environment across the world. As the head of the World Food Program, Sheeran led the world’s biggest humanitarian supply chains with over 15,000 staff and logistics serving more than 90 nations. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020 for her efforts. Throughout her career, Sheeran has raised financial support for public and private partnerships worth over $1 billion, bringing innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.

Jette Sheeran’s Leadership Roles

Since February 2021, Sheeran has served as the executive chair of the McCain Institute for International Leadership. She has also held significant positions such as Vice Chair of the World Economic Forum, UN Special Envoy, Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Program, and Under Secretary for Economic Energy and Agricultural Affairs under President George W. Bush. Her expertise spans various domains, including Asia, Africa, labor, environment, intellectual property, and trade capacity building.

New Additions to the Canoo Board

Earlier this month, Canoe announced the addition of two new members to their board of directors. Deborah Diaz, former Chief Technology Officer at NASA and Chief Information Officer for Science and Technology at the US Department of Homeland Security, joined the board. Alongside Diaz, James C. Chen, a shareholder at the law firm of Bapst Kalend Clemens and Zomnir in the firm’s transportation technology and energy practice, also became a board member.

Deborah Diaz’s Background

Deborah Diaz has an impressive background with experience as the former Chief Technology Officer and Deputy Chief Information Officer at NASA. She also served as the CIO for Science and Technology at the US Department of Homeland Security. Diaz’s current role includes serving on the board of directors of Archer Aviation, Prey’s Financial, and Zero Avia. She is also the Chief Executive Officer of Catalyst ADVV, a technology and strategic growth advisory firm.

James C. Chen’s Expertise

James C. Chen brings his expertise as the former Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Deputy General Counsel at Tesla. He was also the former Vice President of Public Policy and Chief Regulatory Counsel at Rivian Automotive. Chen’s current role as a shareholder at the law firm of Bapst Kalend Clemens and Zomnir focuses on transportation technology and energy. He is excited to be part of Canoo’s board and help establish the roadmap for their digital transformation journey.

Canoo’s Future

As Canoo scales and manufactures more electric vehicles, there will be an increased need to ensure risk-based data and system protections are in place to create a world-class infrastructure. The new board members, Deborah Diaz and James C. Chen, will support Canoe and its team in achieving their strategic growth objectives and increasing market penetration.

Current Independent Board Members

Canoo’s board of directors also includes several independent members. Thomas Dattilo, an accomplished executive and adviser, has held executive roles at various automotive industry companies. Claudia Romo Man, an award-winning social entrepreneur, has led marketing and advocacy initiatives for global organizations, including the United Nations and UNICEF. Arthur Kingsbury, with nearly five decades of experience in business finance and corporate governance, has served on the boards of several companies. Foster Chang, the former Vice Chairman of Turnpike Holding Co, is currently on the board of Tees Touch Embedded Solutions Shaman Company and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Taft School. Deborah Von Stor, a former partner at Ernst & Young, specializes in advising early-stage to rapid-growth companies.


The recent change in leadership at Canoo Inc marks a significant transition for the company. With Jette Sheeran stepping down from the board of directors, the company will navigate new paths under the guidance of their CEO, Tony Aquila, and the new board members, Deborah Diaz and James C. Chen. Canoo’s focus on electric vehicles and innovative approaches to commercial fleets positions them for continued success in the ever-evolving automotive industry.


1. Canoo Inc – Official Website

2. Canoo Inc – Press Release


Indranil Ghosh

Indranil Ghosh

Articles: 260

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