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.
President and Director
Josette joined the board on December 21, 2020 and became President of Canoo Inc. Inc. on July 26, 2021. She is 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. She also served as the President and CEO of the Asia Society, a global non-profit focused on policy, sustainability, conflict resolution, culture, and education and as a fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center. In 2011, she was recognized by Forbes as the 30th most powerful woman in the world.
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.
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.
Chief Financial Officer
Ethridge has deep experience in capital markets and finance over his career having previously served as president, chief operating officer and a director of Hennessy Capital Acquisition Corporation IV, V and VI. He also held director or executive positions at Motorsports Aftermarket Group, MatlinPatterson Global Advisers LLC, FXI Holdings Inc., Gleacher and Company, Imperial Capital LLC, Jefferies and Company, Inc., as well as other boards and investment firms.
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.
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.
Rainer joined the board on December 21, 2020. He is a cornerstone of the automotive and industrial space, with current and former roles at companies including STIGA S.p.A, ACPS GmbH, MAN Truck & Bus SE, Kunstoff Schwanden AG, Autoneum Holding AG, Dometic Group, MAG IAS, Johnson Controls International plc, Daimler AG (FWB: DAI), and Freightliner Inc.
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.