On June first of this year it was announced here in UAV Expert News, that Randal Warnas had been recruited as the new CEO of Autel Robotics. This was met with great excitement in the industry.
Yesterday, only a few weeks later and after recruiting many industry experts to join him, he announced that he had resigned that position. He announced that “as publicly as I came into the role, I wanted there to be clarity that my affiliation with the brand is “over”. He further stated that “The ownership of the company, however, is suspect.”
Randal (you can read about his appointment here) is a long time industry expert having served as the founder of a drone retail store and then serving time starting up the Enterprise Division of DJI only to be stepped on by the Chinese ownership. Randal then headed up the Global industrial sUAS area at FLIR, who was just sold and is now Teledyne FLIR.
When Randal was appointed president, I sent him an email and congratulated him on his appointment as CEO. I had great hopes for Autel, but also reminded him of the issues he had had with DJI as the enterprise area was formed and said I hoped he would not run into the same issues with another Chinese owned company.
Autel, like DJI, at their heart are Chinese/communist owned and operated companies and most agree they will simply not allow an American, even if they are running their USA operations to have any say so in the various aspects of operations. As Randal pointed out in his letter “During the interview process I talked about how DJI is run by Frank and the ‘FOF’ (friends of Frank)” the owner of DJI. “Autel’s owner is also Frank, but has his own FOF (family of Frank)”
Randals note is below, he is very talented and I know wherever he lands, if he is allowed to, will be a great asset to any company, let’s hope it is a US owned company.
His full announcement is below.
“This morning I resigned as CEO of Autel Robotics. Of course I don’t want to be writing this message, but as publicly as I came into the role I wanted there to be clarity that my affiliation with the brand is over.
The team still at Autel is second to none in the unmanned industry. The ownership of the company, however, is suspect. During the interview process I talked about how DJI is run by Frank and the ‘FOF’ (friends of Frank); they laughed and said how they were different. Right… Autel’s owner is also Frank, but has his own FOF (family of Frank), and for nine whole weeks I have been trying to sort that out. When people have unjust authority and no accountability, bad things are bound to happen. This also entirely undermined my ability to function in the role as needed. So rather than prolong this for weeks or months or years, I am moving on.
Mostly this came down to an unjust evaluation of an employee with the company for five weeks which resulted in receiving a termination letter for that person with me expected to sign. I took the ‘over my dead body’ approach and now we’re both floating down the river together.
Thankfully, this is not the end of what I’m going to be doing in the unmanned space. I’ll be taking on a new role at the start of September. Stay tuned.”
UAVEN will have more as this industry shake up continues.
Source: Cliff Whitney
Photo credit: Press