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Trevor Milton Steps Down as Nikola Executive Chairman Following SEC Investigation

Trevor Milton steps down as Nikola executive chairman following SEC investigation.

Last week, it was reported that the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) would be investigating Nikola’s electric truck facts. However, it looks like all of this has not gone down too well with Nikola’s founder, Trevor Milton, as he has decided to resign from Nikola’s post of executive chairman. Milton has provided a statement to Financial Times wherein he has gone to say, “Nikola is truly in my blood and always will be, and the focus should be on the Company and its world-changing mission, not me. So I made the difficult decision to approach the Board and volunteer to step aside as Executive Chairman.”

Milton wrote a letter to the organization’s employees, stating that he would always be “cheering from the sidelines.” He further went on to state that he is leaving the Company in “amazing hands.”

Stephen Girsky, who was earlier the vice-chairman of General Motors and presently one of Nikola’s board members, would be stepping into Milton’s shoes, the firm revealed. Not very long ago, GM finalized a billion-dollar deal with Nikola to provide the motor company with batteries, fuel cells, and any other parts if required. GM will also be developing the pickup truck named “Badger” for Nikola, which will run on hydrogen. 

Along with Girsky, former manufacturing executive Mark Russel, who is the organization’s chief executive, would be managing the Company.

Girsky has expressed his gratitude towards Milton for his “visionary leadership and significant contributions to Nikola since its founding.” He further mentioned that Nikola is having “world-class partnerships,” including the recent GM deal.

Although Milton is no longer the executive chairman of Nikola, he continues to be the organization’s biggest shareholder. Presently, he holds about 91.6m shares, which is about a quarter of the Company’s total shares, valued at about $3.3 billion, as per Friday’s closing price of $34.19.

During Monday’s pre-market trading, the company shares fell by about more than 35% to settle down at $22.09. 

Nikola has gone on to create electric versions of semi-trucks, along with Badger. Apart from this, it has also developed zero-emissions vehicles. The organization also wishes to create something that would be based on a pure hydrogen fueling framework. 

Milton’s resignation comes in the wake of accusations by short-seller “Hindenburg Research” that submitted a report stating that it has solid evidence proving that Nikola’s patented technology was not original but purchased from some other firm. Owing to these accusations, the US Department of Justice and the SEC carried out investigations into the entire matter. 

According to the Financial Times, it has gone on to verify several of the allegations mentioned in the Hindenburg report, even the one that stated that Nikola rolled a truck on a hill just for a promotional video. 

Furthermore, the report also questioned Milton’s earlier business, out of which many had legal proceedings against them, or they had closed down. Nikola has stated that the claims made by the short-seller firm are “false and misleading.”

Image source: Engadget

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