Nikola founder resigns as chairman amid allegations, SEC probe

  • Trevor Milton, the social-media-savvy public face of the company he founded in 2014, was replaced by board member Stephen Girsky.
Photo of Nikola's first semi truck Tre.
Photo of Nikola's first semi truck Tre.

Nikola Corp., the embattled electric-vehicle startup that recently partnered with General Motors Co., said its founder stepped down as executive chairman effective immediately, removing a target of critics but clouding Nikola’s future direction.

Trevor Milton, the social-media-savvy public face of the company he founded in 2014, was replaced by board member Stephen Girsky, whose title will be chairman, the company said in a statement late Sunday.

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The shakeup comes less than two weeks after the Phoenix-based company found itself in the crosshairs of a skeptical short seller that issued a highly critical report and whose claims are the subject of probes by the US Securities and Exchange Commission and, reportedly, the Department of Justice.

The company has faced a turbulent period in the aftermath of a short-lived share rally following GM’s surprise decision earlier this month to take a $2 billion stake in Nikola and manufacture its new pickup truck. The Detroit-based automaker got a cash-free 11% equity position in its smaller partner in a bid to scale and fast-track its own vehicle electrification efforts.

First Published Date: 21 Sep 2020, 12:01 PM IST
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