Lordstown Motors Taps New CEO

The startup's former top executive stepped down amid doubts about its marquee vehicle.

Mural on the wall outside the Lordstown Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio, June 22, 2021.
Mural on the wall outside the Lordstown Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio, June 22, 2021.
AP Photo/David Dermer, File

The former chief executive of Icahn Enterprises will take over at Lordstown Motors two months after the former CEO and chief financial officer stepped down amid doubts over the number of orders placed for the electric truck startup's marquee vehicle.

Daniel Ninivaggi was named CEO Thursday as the Ohio company nears the start of limited production of its Endurance vehicle next month.

Ninivaggi, who will also serve as a board member, has also worked at Lear Corp. and Federal Mogul Holdings Corp.

Shares, which have fallen more than 70% this year on those questions about orders, spiked nearly 20% before the opening bell Thursday.

Earlier this month Lordstown said that aside from the anticipated production start up in September, it expects to complete vehicle validation and regulatory approvals in December and January.

However, the company has fought to secure new funding and said that it is unable to guarantee that it will last through the year. Last month Lordstown, based just outside of Youngstown, acknowledged receiving two subpoenas from federal regulators and also that prosecutors in New York have opened an investigation into the company.

The Securities and Exchange Commission asked in a pair of subpoenas for documents related to the company’s merger with DiamondPeak, a special purpose acquisition company. Special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, have gained prominence this year as a quick route to becoming publicly traded and listing shares on an exchange.

But now investors are seeking information that would traditionally be included in an initial public offering, information that was not available when Lordstown went public through a SPAC.

The company has since acknowledged that it had no firm orders for its vehicles and Lordstown said that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York was “investigating these matters.”

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