A top African American tech CEO was fired over the weekend, after he refused to allow Homeland Security to use his company's facial recognition tech. Brian Brackeen was the founder and CEO of Kairo - a facial recognition company that specializes in recognizing African American faces.
Brian was fired and replaced with Melissa Doval, who joined Kairos as a consultant in May, and became CFO In June. Doval will take over as interim CEO.
Brian has also been an outspoken advocate for limitations on the use of facial recognition by law enforcement, and under his leadership Kairos declined to provide its technology to police body camera maker Axon, according to a June report.
Here is a picture of Melissa, the new CEO:
Brian spoke about about being replaced - this is what he said:
“The company I founded is trying to remove me as the CEO,” Brackeen said in an email to the Herald. “This is a delicate time for all of those involved, including the management, employees, and investors. While I disagree strongly with this action, there is not much more I can share publicly. My legal counsel has instructed me not to speak about this matter at this time. The truth from me will follow in due course.”
After founding the company in 2012, Brackeen drew headlines for pushing Kairos as a leader in improving facial recognition technology to eliminate its tendency to discriminate against racial and ethnic minorities. He recently was a headline speaker at a TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco.
After an acquisition this summer of EmotionReader, another facial recognition company, Kairos opened an office in Singapore, where it now employs five people. It maintains a majority of its 21 employees in Miami.