Singapore-based artificial intelligence (AI) startup Vizzio Technologies has announced a so-called “enhanced leadership team” and its Chief Marketing Officer David See has been appointed as Interim Chief Executive Officer, the company said in a statement on its website on Friday.

“This leadership enhancement is part of Vizzio’s 2.0 strategic vision, as we move forward. David, with the strong support from COO, John Hui, will oversee strategic leadership, stakeholder relations, and financial management, among other responsibilities,” the statement read.

Its board of directors led by Chairman, Abu Bakar Mohd Nor said, “We will do better and are confident that this leadership enhancement, along with our commitment to robust governance, positions Vizzio for a strong future.”

Vizzio’s previous CEO Jon Lee has come under fire after he was found to have faked his credentials following a report by Tech In Asia on Jan 16.

On the same day, its board of directors issued a statement to show support to Lee after convening a special meeting and said “no one should be sanctioned again for what happened 23 year ago when Lee was a 29 year-old technopreneur”.

“Jon (Lee) has brought to our attention that he did not attain a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD). The Board is of the opinion that the technology developed by Vizzio is not dependent on the doctorate. The technology has since proven itself and has been successfully deployed in Singapore and other parts of the world,” the statement read.

On the issue of Jon’s time in Elipva until 2001, the board firmly believes that “no one should be sanctioned again for what happened 23 years ago when Jon Lee was a 29 year-old technopreneur”.

“Jon (Lee) has spent his life’s work since, building a technology that speaks for itself in terms of game-changing innovation, excellence and proven application across industries. And the realisation of his vision came about in late 2019, when Jon returned to Singapore to form Vizzio Technologies and to contribute to the tech industry here,” the chairman Abu Bakar Mohd Nor said in the statement.

“We cannot, and will not, take his life’s work away from him as he has paid his dues some 23 years ago as a young man,” he added.

“We are resolved to support Jon and to continue Vizzio’s mission and the future of our business earmarked by the many successful and proven projects since its inception,” the chairman said then, on behalf of the board of directors and management.

Later on Jan 17, Lee apologized in a statement on Vizzio’s website and said misrepresenting his academic qualifications was a grave misjudgment, and he fully acknowledged its seriousness.

“It was revealed in a report by Tech in Asia on Jan 16, 2024 that my Ph.D. credentials were not authentic. I am extremely sorry. I had intended to address this matter prior to the report as part of my long-term plan to transition the leadership of our company since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. I had not,” he said.

“Misrepresenting my academic qualifications was a grave misjudgment, and I fully acknowledge its seriousness. I want to assure all our stakeholders that this personal misstep does not have a bearing on the integrity or achievements of our company. The advancements and successes we have achieved are the results of the collective efforts of our talented team,” he said, adding that he had had in-depth discussions with the company’s board and a broad range of shareholders over the last few days.

“The board and our shareholders have decided that I will continue to serve as CEO. Alongside this, my leadership team are implementing additional governance measures, including enhanced checks and balances, to preserve our company’s integrity and ensure our company’s continued success. We are united in our commitment to uphold the highest standards of corporate governance and ethical conduct,” he added.

Meanwhile, in a report on Monday (Jan 22), The Straits Times reported that some partner firms contacted by the news organization said that they are” reconsidering their ties with Vizzio on the back of the developments”. A renowned AI scientist has also stepped down from its board, the report added.

Vizzio said on its website that the company is a global leader in the production of highly detailed, measured 3D digital building models using satellite imagery and AI. The company said it uses its patent-protected AI pipeline to generate immersive, metadata-rich 3D digital twins of cities around the globe using over 80 sources of satellite types.

Featured photo credits: Vizzio’s Linkedin page