Accelerate Acquisition Corp.
- Industrial, Transportation, Mobility, Consumer, Retail
Robert “Bob” Nardelli is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AAC, bringing 50+ years of industrial, transportation & mobility, consumer and retail sector experience. Mr. Nardelli began his career working on the factory floor of General Electric as an entry-level manufacturing engineer. He quickly advanced through a series of leadership roles at GE, eventually leading GE Appliances, GE Transportation, and GE Power Systems over the course of 25+ years. Under his leadership, GE Power Systems doubled revenue from roughly $7 billion to nearly $15 billion and nearly quadrupled operating profits over the course of five years. Mr. Nardelli’s strategic vision positioned GE as a “one-stop-shop” solution provider across the power generation value chain, significantly enhancing customer service, reliability and uptime. Over the course of his tenure at GE, Mr. Nardelli successfully implemented a playbook to drive organic growth and operational improvements across a variety of business models and end markets, and successfully completed nearly 50 acquisitions while at the helm of GE Transportation and GE Power Systems.
In December 2000, Mr. Nardelli was named President and Chief Executive Officer of The Home Depot, and a year later was named as Chairman. At Home Depot, Mr. Nardelli added approximately 1,000 stores, making Home Depot the second largest retailer in the U.S., and expanded the company’s reach into the professional contractor distribution channel. Mr. Nardelli also quickly recognized opportunities for innovation, creating an information and supply-chain infrastructure that helped Home Depot to generate nearly 17 percent average annual earnings growth over his six year tenure. The improvements to supply chain contributed to improved delivery of product and service across the company, despite the added complexity of a proliferation of new product introductions under exclusive Home Depot brands. Under Mr. Nardelli’s leadership, Home Depot’s revenue nearly doubled from $46 billion to $91 billion, while net income more than doubled from $2.6 billion to $5.8 billion.
Upon joining Chrysler in 2007 as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Nardelli quickly recognized the early signs of the looming global financial crisis and was the first Big Three CEO to anticipate a multi-year downturn in the automotive industry. As a result, Mr. Nardelli and his executive team quickly reduced Chrysler’s footprint and implemented a comprehensive cost optimization program, even prior to Chrysler’s bankruptcy in 2009. Mr. Nardelli also capitalized on the seismic shifts in the automotive industry by accelerating new product development and introducing a range of award-winning and fuel-efficient vehicles. He strengthened the iconic Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands, where product innovation and brand innovation led to strong outcomes, such as elevating Jeep to the #1 SUV in its class and Dodge Ram winning Motor Trend truck of the year in 2010, 2013, 2014, 2019 and 2020. Mr. Nardelli also supported research and development efforts to enable Chrysler’s expansion into electric vehicles. Importantly, Mr. Nardelli played a critical role in laying the groundwork for the partnership with Fiat, which would enable Chrysler to successfully emerge from bankruptcy.
After Chrysler, Mr. Nardelli continued to serve as Chief Executive Officer of Cerberus until 2012 and Senior Advisor until 2015. Mr. Nardelli led the team responsible for completing detailed due diligence on all new opportunities evaluated by Cerberus. The group was also responsible for reviewing and providing operational support for Cerberus’ portfolio of over 40 companies with a combined revenue of nearly $50 billion.
Mr. Nardelli oversaw the turnaround of several underperforming companies under Cerberus’s ownership and further built his comprehensive operational and financial toolkit. In 2012, Mr. Nardelli founded XLR-8 LLC, Investment & Advisory Co., a company which helps businesses identify weaknesses and improve performance and where he currently serves as Managing Member, and has served as a Senior Advisor to EY in their private equity functions since 2013. Since 2015, Mr. Nardelli has served as a Senior Advisor to Emigrant Bank and a Partner at Emigrant Capital Corp. Over his career, Mr. Nardelli has served on several public and private boards including BWXT Technologies (NYSE: BWXT), Genox Transportation, Pep Boys and Babcock & Wilcox (NYSE: BW). We believe Mr. Nardelli���s 50+ year track record of driving organic and inorganic growth, developing next-generation technology, implementing operational excellence, optimizing capital allocation, and improving corporate cultures makes him well qualified to serve as a member of our board of directors.
Michael Simoff is Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Director of AAC, bringing 30+ years of investing experience. Mr. Simoff has been working towards launching AAC since August 2020, prior to which, from January 2020 to August 2020, he managed his family’s assets. From January 2007 until January 2020, Mr. Simoff was a Portfolio Manager at Elliott Management Corporation, the New York based, global private investment firm with $41 billion AUM as of 2020. As a Portfolio Manager at Elliott, Mr. Simoff managed a global portfolio of private equity and debt covering a wide range of strategies and geographies. Prior to joining Elliott in 2007, Mr. Simoff helped to structure and complete financing for private investment funds and specific capital raising transactions while at Metcircle Securities and Stonehaven Capital. From 1999 to 2004, Mr. Simoff was at Merrill Lynch, Pierce Fenner & Smith Incorporated, serving in various capacities, including Director of Alternative Investments within the firm’s Private Banking and Investment Group and as the Head Investment Strategist for The Merrill Lynch Family Office. Mr. Simoff has extensive experience selecting and managing investments in a wide range of sectors including industrials, manufacturing, information technology, software, media and intellectual property. He has worked with wide range of management teams to set strategy, define goals and improve execution. Additionally, having begun his career as a field geologist for Lookout Mountain Coal, his background in the physical sciences adds to an in-depth understanding of the technical components and factors that enable performance. We believe Mr. Simoff’s ability to leverage insights from his substantial investment, financial, operational oversight and governance experience to help optimize the financial condition, operating performance and strategy of a company makes him well qualified to serve as a member of our board of directors.
Jeffrey Kaplan is the Head of Business Development and Secretary of AAC, bringing 30+ years of transaction and deal structuring experience. In 2020, Mr. Kaplan co-founded Andalusian, a private investment firm with over $500 million in assets under management, where he now serves as President. Given Andalusian’s unique sourcing infrastructure and investing experience, we believe that the firm will serve as a valuable platform for AAC to facilitate the initial business combination. From 2011 to 2020, Mr. Kaplan was the Chief Operating Officer of Appaloosa Management, a Florida based global asset management firm with $11.7 billion AUM as of September 2020. In addition to his operating responsibilities, Mr. Kaplan was responsible for leading and executing acquisitions, sourcing private investment opportunities and managing the firm’s investment banking relationships. Mr. Kaplan has also served as Global Head of Mergers & Acquisitions, Financial Sponsors and Corporate Finance at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Over the course of his career, Mr. Kaplan has cultivated an extensive network of relationships with C-suite executives, corporate board members, financial sponsors and investment bankers, which will be critical in our ability to source and identify a target business with attractive characteristics. We believe that Mr. Kaplan’s transaction and deal structuring experience will be instrumental in identifying and consummating an initial business combination and enhancing the value of the acquired business.
Mark Little has agreed to serve as a board member of AAC, bringing experience in technology engineering, material science and research and development. During his 37 year career at General Electric, Mr. Little served in diverse senior leadership roles in operations, research, strategic planning, joint venture development and product management. In 2005, Mr. Little became GE’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Director of GE Global Research. He led transformative initiatives in software, advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity, and delivered many innovations imperative to growing GE’s product and service portfolio. As Director of GE Global Research, Mr. Little oversaw a team of over 3,600 people from every major scientific and engineering disciplines, working at nine facilities across the USA, India, China, Germany, Brazil and Israel. As CTO, he led over 50,000 technologists across GE. Mr. Little has served as a Director of Analog Devices since 2017 and is currently a Venture Partner at the Material Impact Fund, a Director of four start-up companies and an Advisor to Energy Impact Partners. We believe that Mr. Little’s extensive strategic and digital transformation experience across a number of industries makes him well qualified to serve as a member of our board of directors.
Mark Weinberger has agreed to serve as a board member of AAC. Mr. Weinberger brings his experience leading a global organization, working at the highest levels of government, and as an entrepreneur to AAC. Mr. Weinberger served as the Global Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of EY (Ernst & Young) (professional services) from 2013 through June 2019, having served as Global Chairman and CEO-elect in the prior year. During Mr. Weinberger’s tenure as the Global Chairman and CEO of EY, a leading global professional services organization, he championed increasing diversity at all levels and creating a more inclusive culture. Since departing EY in June 2019, Mr. Weinberger has joined and currently serves on the boards of Metlife Inc., Johnson & Johnson and Saudi Aramco. Mr. Weinberger provides a unique lens to the board, having served throughout his career in a variety of diverse leadership roles, including as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, operating executive, government leader, advisor, and startup founder, and is well qualified to serve as a member of our board of directors.
Dr. John E. Kelly III has agreed to serve as a board member of AAC. Dr. Kelly brings four decades of experience from innovating and leading in the Information Technology industry to the AAC Board. Throughout his distinguished 40-year career at International Business Machines (“IBM”), Dr. Kelly held significant technical and business roles, driving IBM’s leadership in technologies ranging from semiconductors to supercomputers, and artificial intelligence (AI) to Quantum computing. A champion of technology, technologists and business, he steered IBM’s leadership in U.S. patents for the last 28 years and created one of the largest and most important intellectual property licensing businesses in the world.
From January 2019 to December 2020, Dr. Kelly served as IBM Executive Vice President, where he was responsible for helping to guide IBM’s global technical and business success and oversaw IBM’s enterprise-wide Intellectual Property, Security and Privacy, its academic, industrial, and government partnerships, as well as its technical community. He was also a long standing member of IBM’s senior M&A team, as well as leading numerous acquisitions, partnerships, and divestitures.
Previously, from 2014 through 2018, Dr. Kelly served as senior vice president, Cognitive Solutions and IBM Research, where he oversaw IBM’s software business and Watson (the company’s AI platform), and its AI portfolio and investments. Under his leadership, IBM expanded the specialization of IBM Watson into many domains including health, security, analytics, industrial Internet of Things, and financial services.
From 2007 to 2014, Dr. Kelly served as senior vice president and director of IBM Research, where he expanded its global footprint across 12 laboratories in 10 countries. He and his team advanced the science of artificial intelligence through Watson, the groundbreaking system that defeated two standing Jeopardy! world champions in 2011 and woke the world to the reality and potential of AI.
Dr. Kelly retired from IBM in 2020. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and has received numerous national technology and leadership awards.