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In a recent twist of events, one of Apple’s key figures in the development of Project Titan, the tech giant’s ambitious self-driving car venture, is now at the center of a lawsuit brought forth by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Ulrich Kranz, a prominent executive known for his work in the electric vehicle (EV) industry, faces accusations of breaking securities rules during his tenure as CEO of the EV startup Canoo, as reported by Bloomberg.
Kranz’s journey to Apple was marked by an impressive career, spanning an illustrious 30-year stint at BMW, where he served as Senior Vice President of the team responsible for crafting the BMW i3 and i8 electric and hybrid cars. However, his path took a turn in 2016 when he left BMW and briefly joined EV startup Faraday Future before ultimately co-founding Canoo, where he assumed the role of CEO.
During his time at Canoo, Kranz was a driving force behind the company’s decision to go public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). However, this move seems to have landed him in hot water with the SEC, which now accuses him and Canoo’s former CFO, Paul Balciunas, of providing inflated revenue projections and misrepresenting compensation figures.
The SEC’s lawsuit aims to prohibit both Kranz and Balciunas from holding officer positions at public companies and to impose financial penalties on them. It’s worth noting that Canoo previously paid a substantial $1.5 million fine to settle an SEC investigation focused on its SPAC merger.
The SEC’s scrutiny comes after the regulatory body initiated an investigation in 2021 into various aspects of Canoo’s operations, business model, revenues, revenue strategy, customer agreements, earnings, and the departure of certain company officers.
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Despite these developments, Apple has remained tight-lipped about the ongoing lawsuit. Currently, Kranz is actively involved with Apple’s Project Titan team, where he plays a pivotal role in overseeing the hardware design for the forthcoming Apple Car. His direct report is to Kevin Lynch, a key figure within Apple’s automotive endeavors.
The lawsuit has undoubtedly cast a shadow over Kranz’s reputation and raises questions about the potential implications for Apple’s autonomous vehicle ambitions. As the legal proceedings unfold, the tech community eagerly awaits further updates on this high-stakes situation. Rest assured, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the developments surrounding this intriguing case.