Investor, Executive Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Tony Aquila is an American businessman, investor, serial entrepreneur, and inventor associated with 100+ patents in the automotive, aeronautics and cybersecurity sectors.
Growing up on the fringes of Silicon Valley with a mathematical and entrepreneurial mind, Tony founded in his garage, grew, and sold several technology start-ups during the dot-com years, ultimately founding Solera in 2005. Solera is an automotive technology company, that Tony founded with GTCR as his capital partner. Under his leadership as Founder, Chairman and CEO, the company went public through a $1 billion initial public offering in 2007 and private again in 2016, at a valuation of $6.5 billion. Significantly growing the total addressable market by executing over 50 acquisitions during his tenure, it employed 7,000 people in more than 90 countries.
In 2019, based on his proven track record of 70+ transactions with $15bn+ in aggregate value and an industry leading return profile, Tony founded AFV Partners LLC, a long-term sustainable capital vehicle that invests globally in assets that contribute to a net positive impact on the environment.
Canoo is currently one of AFV’s significant investments. Tony initially agreed to provide rescue capital to the company in July 2020. This was followed by his participation in the PIPE. His investments in Canoo were based on his assessment of the company’s competitive advantage: its industry unique focus on proprietary engineering and technology. In preparations for the SPAC merger, Tony was asked to join the board and, effective with the completion of the merger and de-SPAC with Hennessy Capital Acquisition Corp. IV in December 2020, became its Chairman. In April 2021, in the midst of maturing pains as a public company and the increased market scrutiny of SPAC businesses, particularly in the EV space, Tony accepted the CEO position, based on his deep belief in the design and engineering team, to accelerate the transformation of the business to set it apart from the herd. Since that time, Canoo expanded the executive team, announced three new vehicle trims, a Phase 1 advanced industrialization facility and established a landmark partnership for a Phase 2 owned mega-micro manufacturing facility on tribal land in Pryor, Oklahoma. Under Tony’s leadership the business grew to more than 700 engineers across five locations. He and his team are committed to their mission to bring EVs to everyone.
As part of the re-founding, Tony and the team have a “relentless and uncompromising” approach to innovation and are set to bring sustainable and purpose driven EVs to the hard-working people of the heartlands and beyond. He has a disciplined approach to “thinking differently” and he’s deeply rooted in his reverence for nature, affordable mobility for everyone, and helping businesses and teams succeed to make a lasting difference in the world.
On February 22, 2022, Tony was appointed by Governor Hutchinson to the Arkansas Council on Future Mobility, which includes representatives from Walmart, J.B. Hunt, the Arkansas Trucking and Auto Dealers Associations, the University of Arkansas and Southern Arkansas University Tech, and several state agencies, among others. The Council on Future Mobility has a goal to capitalize on advancements in mobility and further cement Arkansas as a national and global leader in the sector.
Lead Independent Director
Thomas joined the board on December 21, 2020. Thomas has robust experience working with technology, finance and automotive companies, including Portfolio Group, L3 Harris Technologies, Inc., Haworth Inc., and Cooper Tire & Rubber Company.
James joined the board on February 7, 2024. James 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. Mr. Chen is currently a shareholder at the law firm of Babst, Calland, Clements and Zomnir in the firm’s transportation technology and energy practice.
Foster joined the board on December 21, 2020. He has served as a director of Canoo Inc. since December 2017. His other experience includes roles at TPK Holding Co. Ltd., TES Touch Embedded Solutions (Xiamen) Co., Ltd., and the Board of Trustees of the Taft School, a private college-preparatory school.
Deborah joined the board on February 7, 2024. Deborah 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.
Claudia Romo Edelman
Claudia joined the board on March 15, 2021. A diplomat, humanitarian, and marketer, she has spent 25 years creating growth and successful movements for global organizations including the World Economic Forum, UNICEF; the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Arthur joined the board on March 15, 2021. He has a strong track record of building shareholder value at high-growth companies and has deep experience in business, finance, and corporate governance. He has served on the boards of many public companies including Solera Holdings, Affiliated Publications, Inc., NetRatings, Inc., McCaw Cellular Communications (acquired by AT&T), Remark Holdings, and Dolan Media.
Debra von Storch
Debra joined the board on January 12, 2021. She is a former Partner at Ernst & Young LLP, where she specialized in advising early-stage to rapid-growth companies. She currently serves as a director of CSW Industrials (NASDAQ: CSWI) as well as on the boards of several prominent financial and charitable organizations in the Dallas Metropolitan area and across the U.S.