Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem replaces Sir Richard Branson
Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, DP World Group chairman and CEO, has been appointed as the new chairman for Virgin Hyperloop One, it has been announced. He will replace Sir Richard Branson, who stepped down last month.
With more than three decades of experience across a wide range of industries, bin Sulayem brings a wealth of leadership experience to the boardroom, a statement from DP World said.
Jay Walder, one of the world’s leading mass transportation and technology executives, has been appointed as the new chief executive office. Walder will also join the company’s board of directors, the statement added. He has led some of the biggest and most complex transportation systems in the world, it said, having served as chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York, CEO of the MTR Corporation in Hong Kong and managing director at Transport for London.
He recently ran Motivate, the global leader in bike share, before its sale to Lyft. Walder was also a Partner at McKinsey, where he led the Global Infrastructure Practice for the well-known consulting firm.
In a statement, Virgin Hyperloop One said that the selection of new senior management would allow the company to transition from being a technology start up, through to being a mass transportation company, beginning with the implementation of the world’s first hyperloop system running from Pune to Mumbai.
Walder will be replacing Rob Lloyd, who served as CEO for more than three years. Lloyd leaves after successfully guiding the company through its largest expansion, including creating the first and only hyperloop system, a pipeline of projects globally, and raising substantial funding.
Sir Richard’s board seat will be taken by Virgin’s Patrick McCall.
This move comes following the recent announcement of a new round of funding. With this, DP World has become Virgin Hyperloop One’s largest investor.
“As we enter uncharted territory in implementing an entirely new kind of mass transportation system, we needed a leader with a deep understanding of public transportation, experience in infrastructure financing, a track record of project delivery, and success working with government and private sector partners,” said Bin Sulayem.
“We could not have found a more ideal candidate than Walder for the next stage of the company’s development and the historic growth of this new industry,” he added.
On his appointment, Walder said: “I have focused my career on using technology to advance innovation in transportation, so I could not pass up the opportunity to lead the company that has pioneered hyperloop.”
“I look forward to joining the company at this incredibly exciting time and working with our partners to revolutionise sustainable urban development and travel,” he added.
The company is focusing on a major current project in India, where the government has recently declared the Pune-Mumbai hyperloop project as a public infrastructure project with international consortium DP World and Virgin Hyperloop One as the original project proponent, said the statement from DP World.
If the government ultimately awards it a concession for the project, the company expects to start constructions on the 11km test loop in 2019. When completed, hyperloop can reduce the travel time between Mumbai and Pune from about 4 hours to 25 minutes, it added.