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Hyperloop One co-founder and CTO Brogan BamBrogan steps down

TechCrunch TechCrunch 1/07/2016 Sarah Buhr

Hyperloop One co-founder and CTO Brogan BamBrogan is out at the company and former VP of engineering Josh Geigel will be taking over BamBrogan’s role as CTO.

The move, though abrupt, may have been a long time coming. The company has been shifting Bambrogan away from public comment for months and switched him to the CTO role, appointing former Cisco exec Rob Lloyd as CEO in September.

Hyperloop One is one of two companies in the L.A. area working to bring forth Elon Musk’s grand blueprint to ship humans and cargo in a vacuum tube at lightning speed all over the world.

BamBrogan joined Shervin Pishevar to build on the idea in 2014, but the company has been picking up a lot of steam lately – breaking ground on a Nevada test site this spring, locking in several global partnerships for construction, cargo and real estate, forming an alliance with the Russian government to build a Hyperloop in Moscow and has pulled in $80 million so far to build out an idea for rapid transportation technology of the future.

It seems odd to switch out leadership at a time when the buzz around the Hyperloop is just starting to heat up, but there’s been some discord at the top, according to a source. The tensions within may have spurred recent changes. 

Hyperloop One declined to comment on what may have caused the sudden departure of BamBrogan beyond a released statement.

“Josh has been a valued engineering leader as co-founder and SVP of Engineering since the company’s inception,” read the statement. “Co-founder and CTO Brogan BamBrogan has decided to take a step back from Hyperloop One. We appreciate everything that he has done to put us on the path to creating the world’s first Hyperloop.”

The news of BamBrogan’s departure comes Just days after Afshin Pishevar was ousted from his position as general legal counsel and replaced by his understudy Marvin Ammori. Afshin is the brother of Hyperloop One’s co-founder and chairman Shervin Pishevar.

A source tells us BamBrogan will no longer be involved in the company in any day-to-day role. Geigel, who has been at the company since its inception in 2014, will now gain the title of co-founder and get a seat on the company board. Recode first noted the new appointment.

Both Geigel and BamBrogan worked in senior positions at SpaceX before joining Shervin to start Hyperloop One. Geigel also held positions at Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Echogen Power Systems. BamBrogan is credited with designing the second-stage engine of SpaceX’s Falcon 1 rocket and serving as lead architect for the Dragon capsule’s heat shields.

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