Electric truck company Nikola names its fourth CEO in as many years

Electric truck maker Nikola named its fourth CEO in as many years on Friday as its tries to navigate a host of challenges including depleting cash reserves, supply chain constraints and a pivot to hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Shares of the Phoenix-based company fell nearly 13% in early trading, after the company said Chairman Stephen Girsky will take over the helm from Michael Lohscheller, effectively immediately.

Girsky was previously on the General Motors’ board and was an adviser to the CEO and the finance chief of the Chevrolet parent.

Lohscheller is stepping down due to a family health matter and will be returning to Europe, the company said. He will remain in an advisory capacity through the end of September, it added.

Separately, Nikola reported a narrower second-quarter loss as lower production of its Tre battery-electric trucks in the April-June period helped keep costs in check.

Nikola has been struggling with dwindling cash reserves as it burns through cash to ramp up production of its trucks.

Its investors in an annual shareholder meeting on Thursday, however, approved a proposal that allows the truck maker to issue more shares to raise funds.

The meeting was delayed twice as Nikola did not receive shareholder approval for the move, which founder Trevor Milton opposed in his first social media post in years.

“The company does not need new shares, they need new leadership,” Milton said in a LinkedIn post in June.

Milton stepped down as CEO of the company in 2020 after a short seller Hindenburg issued a scathing report that labeled Nikola a “fraud.”

Last month, Nikola said it would liquidate the assets of battery maker Romeo Power, which it acquired less than a year ago for $144 million.

Steve Shindler, who has been a board member since 2020, will serve as chairman after Girsky’s appointment, the company said on Friday.

Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

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