Nikola CEO steps down, replaced by chairman


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EV truck maker Nikola Corp. said Friday that president/CEO Michael Lohscheller is leaving the top executive positions due to a family health issue. He will be replaced by board chairman Steve Girsky, a former GM board member and the CEO of the special purpose acquisition company that merged with Nikola to make it a publicly company.

Lohscheller has decided to step down due to a family health matter and will be returning to Europe, the company said in a statement. He will remain at Nikola in an advisory capacity through the end of September, according to Nikola.

“The Board respects Michael’s decision to be with his family during this time and thanks him for his hard work, dedication, and contributions to Nikola,” Girsky said in a statement. “I am grateful for all that Michael was able to accomplish to move our company forward during his tenure.”

Lohscheller joined Nikola as president in March 2022. Just months later, the company announced he would take the CEO spot from Mark Russell who officially retired in January 2023. Prior to joining Nikola, Lohscheller was CEO of Opel and VinFast, as well as CFO at Volkswagen Group of America and Mitsubishi Motors Europe.

The CEO news coupled with the company’s second-quarter earnings report, which was released Friday, sent shares down more than 12%. Shares were trading at $2.98 as of midday Friday.

Nikola reported revenue of $15.4 million in the second quarter, a 15% drop from the same period last year. Nikola’s losses also grew from a year ago. The company reported a loss of $217.8 million compared to a loss of $173 million in same year-ago period. Still, Lohscheller tried to take a positive tone in earnings, saying the company had “turned the corner” and is well on the way to executing its business plan and achieving profitability.

Nikola has experienced a string of scandals and internal dramas over the past several years, largely due to its controversial and since ousted founder Trevor Milton, who was charged with wire and securities fraud.

In recent years, Girsky, the board and Lohscheller have tried to put Nikola back on the right and less scandalous path and one focused on producing its battery-electric truck and launching its Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell electric truck. On Thursday, the company successfully received enough shareholder support to issue more shares, a move that would allow it to potentially raise more capital.

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