BrainChip (ASX:BRN) share price sinks on shock CEO exit

The Brainchip Holdings Ltd (ASX: BRN) share price nosedived at market open following the surprise exit from its CEO. Here’s the details.

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The Brainchip Holdings Ltd (ASX: BRN) share price nosedived at market open following the surprise exit from its CEO. At one point, the artificial intelligence technology company’s shares hit as low as 47.5 cents. However, some bargain hunters have swooped in, easing the share price to 51 cents, down 9%.

What’s driving the BrainChip share price lower?

The BrainChip share price is deep in the red today as investors weigh up the company’s latest update.

According to this morning’s release, the BrainChip board has mutually decided to terminate the managing director and CEO, Louis DiNardo, from his post. While no reason was stated for the abrupt exit, the decision was made with immediate effect, concerning shareholders. The company said that Mr. DiNardo was leaving to ‘pursue other interests’.

In a bid to quickly fill the hole left, the board has appointed Peter van der Made as the new interim CEO. Mr van der Made is the current chief technology officer, co-founder, and executive director of BrainChip. He was also CEO of the company from October 2015 until September 2016, when Mr. DiNardo took over the reins.

During the interim period, Mr van der Made will be assisted by his senior management team to fulfil his outstanding duties. This includes Anil Mankar who is co-founder and chief development officer, Ken Scarince, chief financial officer, and Rob Telson, vice president of worldwide sales.

BrainChip noted that there will be no changes to Mr van der Made’s remuneration package, while he serves the new temporary role. A search is currently underway to find a permanent replacement.

To ensure a smooth transition process, Mr. DiNardo will move into a 12-month part-time role with BrainChip, supporting Mr van der Made.

Management commentary

BrainChip non-executive chair Mr. Emmanuel Hernandez commented:

On behalf of the Board and the employees of Brainchip, we thank Lou for his years of service to Brainchip and for taking us from concept to silicon. We wish him the best in his future endeavours.

Mr. van der Made went on to add:

I also want to thank Lou for leading us to this point. I am honoured to lead our team during this interim period, while the Board commences an expeditious search for our next seasoned Chief Executive Officer, to further advance the commercialization of our Akida technology and strategy for the future.

Despite today’s fall, the BrainChip share price has gained more than 1,500% since this time last year.

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Motley Fool contributor Aaron Teboneras has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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