Nikola founder Trevor Milton steps down

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Following fraud allegations against Trevor Milton, founder and Executive Chairman of Nikola Corporation, has now resigned. He is succeeded by Stephen Girsky, former Vice Chairman of General Motors and current member of the Nikola Board of Directors.

Trevor Milton, founder and Executive Chairman of Nikola Corporation since its initial public offering this spring, is leaving the company after allegations of fraud. The trigger for this development is an article by Hindenburg Research from September 10.

Hindenburg Research is a company that specializes in short-selling stocks. The short seller accuses Trevor Milton of fraud in corporate communications and investor acquisition. Nikola’s direct denial on 11.09. was followed on 14.09. by a detailed counterstatement from the press department of the US manufacturer of electric commercial vehicles. After it became known last week that both the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Department of Justice were investigating the case, Milton resigned from his post on Monday, September 21, 20.

The shortseller attack hit Nikola right after the announcement of a planned cooperation with the General Motors Company on September 8. Part of the agreement provides for GM to take over eleven percent of the company shares of the young manufacturer from Arizona.

GM is not the only well-known investor who has expressed confidence in the industry newcomer. Nikola has both a financial and technology partnership with CNH Industrial. As recently as September 2019, the global corporation invested 250 million dollars. Its commercial vehicle brands Iveco and FPT Industrial also support the electrical start-up with their development know-how and production infrastructure. Starting in 2021, battery-electric Nikola Tre will roll off the production line at the Iveco plant in Ulm. The fuel-cell-powered version of the heavy-duty truck model is to follow in 2023.

Bosch also supported Nikola with 230 million dollars in this financing round. Bosch and Nikola have also been working together for years on the drive technology for Nikola’s fuel cell truck models.

Milton’s successor, Stephen Girsky, is no stranger in this field. As Nikola’s merger partner, he facilitated the company’s going public and has been on the board of directors ever since. Girsky was previously Deputy Chairman of the Board of General Motors.

Before the Hindenburg Research article, however, things went well for Nikola. As recently as August, the manufacturer received a major order from the waste management industry.