Lordstown Motors’ new CEO takes the helm | News, Sports, Jobs
LORDSTOWN – The new Managing Director of Lordstown Motors Corp. said he was following the unfortunate events electric vehicle startups have seen this year. But the past is the past, and he is determined not to let it affect the future of the business.
“It shouldn’t affect everything we have to do in the future. They are in the past; there is a process to resolve these issues ”, said Daniel A. Ninivaggi, who was announced as CEO on Thursday. “I’m going to spend as much time as possible focusing on the future, getting this truck out and not on what happened in the past. “
A veteran of the automotive industry, Ninivaggi was handed the keys to Lordstown Motors at an important point in the company’s short history – two months after the abrupt resignation of its founder and former CEO, concerned about its long-term viability and questions surrounding the controls of its flagship vehicle, the Endurance.
He said he was confident the company could succeed in the growing electric vehicle market with full-size, battery-powered Endurance aimed at fleet operators.
“When I saw Lordstown come out I was like, ‘Wow, a great strategy and apparently a great product and hits the middle of the market'” said Ninivaggi.
The company’s production facility, the former General Motors assembly plant, is a huge asset, he said. “Most startups don’t start with a billion dollar factory. I thought they had a lot for them to do ”, he said.
He focuses, he says, on the fundamentals.
“It’s about getting the truck out, hitting the production plan, making sure we get customer acceptance and making sure we have the resources to deliver it all. “ said Ninivaggi.
“If the vehicle delivers as expected and as promised, I think customer feedback will be very positive” he said. “But, hey, you have to be productive and that’s part of our goal, to get the truck into production and into the hands of the customers who can actually drive it. “
The company remains on track to start limited production of the truck in late September, with validation and regulatory approval completed in December and January. The truck will be deployed to select the first customers in the first quarter of 2022 before commercial deliveries in the second quarter of the year.
Ninivaggi is the former CEO of Icahn Enterprises LP, a diversified holding company controlled by billionaire Carl C. Icahn who, according to his website, is involved in eight main business lines: investment, energy, automotive, food packaging, metals, real estate, fashion house and pharmacy.
At Icahn Enterprises, Ninivaggi also oversaw the company’s automotive after-sales service network and parts distribution activities.
He also worked as Executive Vice President, responsible for corporate development and strategy, of Lear Corp. automotive components prior to sale to Tenneco.
Ninivaggi will receive an annual salary of $ 750,000 and an annual target bonus of 125% of his base salary, according to his employment contract.
In addition, the 57-year-old will receive 700,000 stock options and 700,000 restricted stock units which will vest over three years.
Angela Strand, who took over as interim CEO in mid-June, will continue as non-executive chair of the board.
The company has struggled in recent months which began in March with a scathing report on short sellers. He claimed the company misled investors about the pre-orders. The report sparked several federal lawsuits.
In June, the company found itself backtracking on claims it had firm orders after declaring days before there was enough demand to last until 2022.
Also in June, the company’s founder and CEO, Steve Burns, and its chief financial officer, Julio Rodriguez, resigned. No reason was given for the resignation, but that decision came with the company’s admission that the statements regarding pre-orders for Endurance were inaccurate.
He is also under investigation by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, which issued subpoenas to the company for documents related to its October merger with special purpose acquisition company DiamondPeak. Holdings and pre-orders.
The US attorney’s office in Manhattan has also opened an investigation into these matters.