Rivian, a start-up Electric Vehicle (EV) company planning to build a $5 billion manufacturing plant in Morgan County, has confirmed several top executives have jumped ship after a year of setbacks, production stalls, employee lay-offs and plummeting stocks.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, a Rivian spokesperson confirmed the departure of several long-time top executives, including the vice president overseeing body engineering and its head of supply chain.
“The departures, confirmed by a Rivian spokeswoman, are the latest developments in what has been a challenging period for Rivian, which has been rolling out its first all-electric models but last year missed a critical milestone of manufacturing 25,000 vehicles,” reported the WSJ.
“The company said it was off its goal by about 700 vehicles in part because of difficulty getting parts. Rivian’s stock has also tumbled since its blockbuster initial public offering in November 2021, down roughly 79 percent through Tuesday’s close.”
According to the WSJ, “The executives who have left were some of Rivian’s longer-tenured employees. Among them is Randy Frank, vice president of body and interior engineering, and Steve Gawronski, the vice president in charge of parts purchasing. Both had departed around the beginning of this year.”
Other Rivian officials to leave include Patrick Hunt, a senior director in the strategy team who joined Rivian in 2015 and Rivian’s general counsel Neil Sitron, after four-and-half-years with company.
However, Rivian has hired on new leadership as the company ramps up efforts to meet its steep production goals.
Tim Fallon, former head of Nissan Motor Co.’s factory in Canton, Miss., joined Rivian in 2022 to takeover Rivian’s manufacturing plant in Normal, Ill. In June, Frank Klein, a former contract manufacturer for Magna Steyr, came aboard at Rivian as chief operating officer. A new supply-chain logistics director has also joined Rivian, Andreas Reutter from tool maker Stanley Black & Decker Inc.
“We continue to attract world class talent to our company as our business needs change,” a Rivian spokesperson said to the WSJ.
“The changes at the top of Rivian come as it attempts to transform from an upstart looking to raise capital to a mass manufacturer with ambitions to become one of the world’s largest auto makers,” noted the WSJ report.
Rivian is also awaiting on the Georgia Court of Appeals to rule on key components of the company’s economic development deal with the State of Georgia. Last year, a Morgan County Superior Court Judge denied $15 billion in bonds to fund the construction of Rivian’s planned megafactory in Georgia, and deemed the company ineligible for an exemption from traditional property taxes.
If the ruling stands, Rivian could lose up to $700 million in tax breaks, nearly half of its historic $1.5 billion incentive package with the State of Georgia. The appeal case will be heard later this year.
All 7 remaining members of the JDA should do the right thing and follow their lead. Failure to hit milestones and deliver results should cost them their positions. They should be embarrassed at how spectacularly wrong they were to let Brian Kemp and Pat Wilson use their good names to push this money-losing company on Georgia.
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