It’s not every year that a company more than doubles in size, announces a series of industry-defining partnerships, and goes public, but 2021 was that year for Aurora. Throughout the year we were able to move swiftly and decisively in no small part because of the foundational investments we’ve made in our technology and our team.
As part of building a generational company and revenue-generating business, we’re announcing Richard Tame’s appointment as our Chief Financial Officer. Over the last year, Richard’s leadership and financial expertise have helped shepherd the company through several acquisitions, expansion, and a successful IPO. Naming Richard as CFO is a recognition of the incredibly important role he and his team have played and will continue to play in our growth as we commercialize our products.
As a public company, our finance team will continue to support our corporate strategy, providing strategic guidance as we responsibly and reliably deliver autonomous products at scale. With that, we are also welcoming other key leaders to the finance team. Here’s more about the finance team, their thoughts on Aurora, and their unique roles at the company…
Chief Financial Officer Richard Tame leads our Finance, Corporate Strategy, Real Estate, and Workplace teams. He brings more than two decades of experience in public accounting and leading finance teams at high-growth companies including Lyft, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon.
VP of Investor Relations Stacy Feit leads our investor relations program, establishing strategic priorities and engaging with the investment community. She brings over 20 years of investor relations and capital markets experience to Aurora. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Investor Relations at The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated, following nearly a decade at a leading investor relations consulting firm.
Senior Director of Business Risk and Insurance Helen Chue leads our risk management and insurance strategy. She was most recently at Facebook where she created the risk management and insurance function, addressing data center construction supply chain risks.
Senior Director of Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) Katherine Jong brings 15 years of global finance experience building and scaling FP&A functions, advising business strategy, and partnering with executive leaders through high growth and large-scale transformation. Most recently, she was at Lyft where she led the FP&A team that supported technology, autonomy, and new ventures.
Getting to know Richard, Stacy, Helen, and Katherine
Why did you join Aurora?
Richard: I caught the bug for working in fast-growing tech companies during my time at great companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook. I was attracted by the opportunity to help lead Aurora on its journey towards delivering a revolutionary product whilst building a world-class company. It’s not every day that you get the chance to work with top global experts in a new industry – it’s both challenging and rewarding!
Stacy: I am incredibly excited by the opportunity to work for a company that will have a profound societal and economic impact. As a newly public company in an emerging industry, Aurora presents a unique opportunity to build an investor relations function while educating the investment community about the self-driving industry.
Helen: Why Aurora? Easy – Aurora emphasizes rigorous engineering rather than hype, and the Aurora team is both smart and humble. In my role, I will be working with many different teams to build insurance solutions for the commercialization of autonomous truck and ride-hailing services, so Aurora’s emphasis on transparency and teamwork is a huge draw for me.
Tell us about one of the coolest challenges you’re trying to solve.
Richard: As we approach commercialization, we’ll share Aurora’s story and revolutionary technology to a broader investor audience. We are pioneering a new industry with the potential for transformational impact in the world and this means we need to find creative ways to engage and educate investors on Aurora's progress over time.
Stacy: Self-driving technology is new, and the massive economic and societal impact it will have is not yet understood by many. We will be focused on educating the investors on this nascent industry, what differentiates Aurora from the other players in the space, and why we will be the company to successfully deliver this technology at scale
Helen: I help manage all of Aurora’s insurance needs, but most excitingly I will help build insurance solutions for our product suite and educate the insurance industry about the safety advantages self driving has to offer.
Katherine: My role focuses on efficiently allocating financial resources to sustainably scale the company in each stage of its growth. When operating as a public company building a suite of products for commercial scale, it’s important that we prioritize both building a strong company foundation for the future while reliably delivering on our product vision and roadmap.
How does Aurora plan to commercialize its technology and build a revenue-generating business?
Richard: We are building the Aurora Driver which is the hardware, software, and data services that will allow a vehicle – be it a Class 8 truck, a minivan, or a local goods delivery vehicle – to move through the world autonomously. We plan to operate with a Driver-as-a-Service model, where customers will subscribe to the Aurora Driver and pay Aurora a fee per mile. Our first commercial product will be Aurora Horizon for trucking applications and we’ll follow this with Aurora Connect for ride-hailing applications.
Which Aurora value resonates with you most?
Helen: Operate with Integrity. We do the right thing, even if it delays us or makes us less money. As someone who specializes in risk and insurance, this company value resonates deeply with me.
Stacy: No jerks. This value was so evident in my interactions with the Aurora team during my interview process and upon joining the company. The expertise and excellence across the Aurora team is unparalleled and at the same time, humility runs deep at every level of the organization.
Katherine: Be reasonable. Aurora has an inherent trust in its team and we operate on the presumption of positive intent.
Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us.
Richard: I took time off to be a stay-at-home dad when my son was born. We also lived on Lanai in Hawaii (look it up, it is quite small).
Stacy: I backpacked in Europe after graduating high school, which sparked a lifelong love of travel that has so far taken me to over 50 countries.
Helen: Although I’m in risk management, which generally looks at what could go wrong and how to protect against the worst-case scenario, I’m an optimist.
Katherine: I took a year-long career break in 2019. For the better part of that year, I lived off the grid (solar-powered vanlife) and drove the length of South America, and then up and across North America. A total of 30,000 miles.