Ann Arbor conversational AI company Clinc announces new CEO

Credit: Clinc

ANN ARBOR – Conversational AI startup Clinc has appointed IT veteran Jon Newhard as its new chief executive officer.

The announcement comes seven months after the company’s co-founder Jason Mars stepped down as CEO following an exposé published by The Verge in which current and former employees alleged he had sexually harassed workers and clients and engaged in inappropriate conduct.

At the time, Mars said the allegations were “rife with embellishments and fabrications,” but announced he was stepping down on Feb. 9 following an internal investigation.

In April, Clinc laid off a third of its employees due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“In light of the current global pandemic, hard decisions were made to best serve our clients and employees, and we remain focused on supporting and protecting the health of the employees impacted,” Clinc COO Lingjia Tang said in a statement at the time. “Clinc has refocused the business on its two primary areas: providing financial institutions with exceptional virtual assistants and democratizing conversational AI platform, which best positions us to weather this storm and be set up for long-term success.”

According to a press release, Newhard will focus on customer success strategy and oversee the company’s growth, which includes building out the marketing, engineering and product teams with local talent.

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“Conversational AI is revolutionizing the financial services industry, helping to personalize and improve the customer experience, an important part of digital transformation. This massive addressable market presents a great opportunity for Clinc’s world-leading AI technology and its talented people,” said Newhard in a statement. “I couldn’t be more excited to join the team during this time.”

Newhard has more than 25 years of experience in the IT industry, and previously served as CEO of Trafficware. He has also held senior leadership roles with Kaplan Compliance Solutions, Cubic Corporation and Michigan-based New World Systems.

He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor’s in Economics and Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.