Agility Robotics Strengthens Leadership Team

Daniel Diez joins as Chief Strategy Officer, Melonee Wise and Pras Velagapudi take on expanded product and technology roles

Agility Robotics, creator of the market-leading bipedal Mobile Manipulation Robot (MMR) Digit, today announced that it has bolstered its leadership team with the appointment of seasoned technology leader Daniel Diez as Chief Strategy Officer. Additionally, amidst Agility’s strategic focus on productization and commercialization, Melonee Wise is taking on the role of Chief Product Officer and Pras Velagapudi is stepping into the role of Chief Technology Officer, effective immediately.

“As the only company with a humanoid robot already delivering useful work to customers, Agility is shaping the future of labor. Today we’re strengthening our exceptional leadership team to jump on this massive market opportunity,” said Peggy Johnson, CEO of Agility Robotics. “Daniel brings an outstanding track record of leading business transformation and corporate strategy, and when it comes to deploying fleet-level robotics solutions in logistics and manufacturing operations, Melonee’s and Pras’s technical, product, and commercial experience are unbeatable. I’m thrilled to have their expert leadership in these new and expanded roles as we prepare for commercial scale.”

Daniel Diez, Chief Strategy Officer

As Chief Strategy Officer, Diez is responsible for setting Agility’s overall business and go-to-market strategy, working closely with CEO Peggy Johnson. In this role, he will also lead all marketing, product marketing, and communications efforts to build the company’s reputation and grow awareness and demand for Digit as the company enters its next phase of rapid commercial growth.

Diez joins Agility from Magic Leap, where he led the company’s public transformation from a consumer technology startup to an enterprise technology company and was responsible for the commercial launch of Magic Leap 2. He most recently served as Chief Commercial Officer at Magic Leap, overseeing business development, sales, customer experience, ecosystem solutions, developer relations, marketing, brand, communications, public affairs, and government relations. He previously held the roles of Chief Transformation Officer and Chief Marketing Officer at Magic Leap.

Prior to joining Magic Leap, Diez served as Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Product at Transform Brands, the owner of the iconic Kenmore appliance brand. Before that, he was the Global Chief Marketing Officer for R/GA, a global marketing and innovation agency, and helped lead the company’s transformation from a digital marketing agency to a global advertising and brand transformation powerhouse.

Throughout his career, Diez has been an advocate for corporate citizenship and his passion for creating positive change extends beyond the world of business. He serves on the Board of the LGBT Community Center in New York and has previously served as a pro bono marketing and communications consultant for nonprofit organizations including the Ad Council and the Human Rights Campaign.

Melonee Wise, Chief Product Officer

Since joining Agility as CTO in May 2023, Wise has transformed the way the company approaches product development as it prepares to bring its products to market at scale. In addition to leading the company’s engineering and technology efforts for Digit, she created and led the team that conceived, built, and launched Agility Arc, a cloud automation platform for deploying and managing fleets of Digits in conjunction with other automation solutions. In the expanded role of CPO, Wise will continue to lead Agility’s engineering team in addition to the newly-formed product organization.

Wise has a deep history in developing autonomous robots and advancing the robotics industry as we know it today. Prior to joining Agility in 2023, Wise was the Vice President of Robotics Automation at Zebra Technologies. She was CEO of Fetch Robotics until its acquisition by Zebra Technologies in 2021. Previously, Wise was the second employee at Willow Garage where she led a team of engineers developing next-generation robot hardware and software, including ROS, the PR2, and TurtleBot. Wise serves as a robotics board member for A3. Throughout her career, Wise has received many accolades and awards including the MIT Technology Review TR35, Supply & Demand Chain Executive’s 2021 Supply Chain Woman of the Year, the 2022 Engelberger award, and as one of eight CEOs changing the way we work by Business Insider. Wise received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Physics Engineering and a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois.

Pras Velagapudi, Chief Technology Officer

In the year since he joined Agility, Velagapudi has galvanized the company’s AI strategy and shown repeated breakthroughs in using AI to accelerate Digit’s commercial capabilities. As CTO, Velagapudi will continue to focus on pragmatic product-relevant innovations, operationalizing the company’s research and development efforts, and continually exploring new technologies, with an emphasis on applying modern and emerging AI to enable commercial scale.

Velagapudi has decades of experience in robotics planning and control, and creating and deploying robots into home, industrial, and outdoor environments. Before joining Agility as VP of Innovation and Chief Architect in 2023, he was a VP of Engineering and Chief Architect of Mobile Robotics at Berkshire Grey, deploying fleets of hundreds of robots to logistics applications. He is also the co-founder of Platypus, a low-cost Android-based fleet infrastructure for small autonomous robotic boats to collect environmental data on bodies of water. Prior to that, he led electrical systems design and engineering for RedZone Robotics, a subterranean pipe inspection robot platform. Velagapudi received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University, where he also served as Adjunct Faculty and Project Scientist for many years.

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