Electric truck maker Nikola announced Wednesday that President Michael Lohscheller will become CEO on January 1.

Lohscheller, who will replace CEO Mark Russell upon his retirement, has joined the Nikola Board of Directors, effective immediately. He served as CEO of Opel and VinFast, as well as CFO at Volkswagen Group of America and Mitsubishi Motors Europe, before joining Nikola as President in March, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Since then, the company brought its long-delayed Tre battery-electric vehicle into series production and began piloting a hydrogen fuel cell version of the Tre with Total Transportation Services.

“In his six months since joining our company, Michael has continued to bring an increased sense of urgency, high level of accountability, improved lines of communication and accelerated decision-making to Nikola Motor,” Steve Girsky, Nikola’s Chairman of the Board, said in a statement.

Nikola’s stock price rose 5.9% on the news during pre-market trading Wednesday. The share price was flat as of 10 a.m. ET.

The startup has struggled since going public through a $3.3 billion merger with special purpose acquisition company VectolQ in June 2020.

After making headlines for its eye-popping $29 billion valuation, the company was slowed by a string of controversies stemming from its founder Trevor Milton, which resulted in his removal as CEO and a $125 million penalty to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for deceiving investors.

The SEC said that Milton misled investors on numerous fronts including the company’s technological advancements and production capabilities. Milton was charged with criminal fraud.

Nikola reported Thursday a second-quarter net loss of $173 million, or 41 cents per share, on revenues of $18.1 million.

The company said it had produced 50 Nikola Tre BEVs in its Coolidge, Arizona, factory and that it remains on track to deliver between 300 and 500 of the trucks by the end of the year.

 

 

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