Lordstown Motors Appoints New CEO

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Lordstown Motors has entered into the phase where an EV startup has to tread water now that everyone knows it failed to disclose various production hurdles and shared inaccurate information about the pre-orders it has been bragging about. The only thing offsetting this bad situation is that our misgivings regarding Lordstown could probably be a little worse. Nikola and Faraday Future told some real whoppers, while the Ohio-based company appeared to have at least one toe dipped in the waters of truth. But we can’t exactly call lying a little less than the competition a major triumph.

It remains a bad situation, particularly because Lordstown lost CEO Steve Burns almost immediately after stating the company was “highly dependent” on his leadership in June. However, the firm said it had remedied the situation by appointing Daniel Ninivaggi as the new chief executive on Friday.

According to the release, Ninivaggi has been approved by the board of directors and will be assuming the position (so to speak) right away. Considering the state the company is currently in, we don’t envy him — at least not until we remember he’s a highly paid corporate executive in an industry that no longer seems interested in accountability or hiring people that seem capable of doing their jobs.

From Lordstown Motors:

Ninivaggi is the former CEO of Icahn Enterprises L.P., a diversified holding company controlled by Carl C. Icahn, and has served in a variety of senior leadership positions in the automotive and transportation industries. He began his automotive career at Lear Corporation, ultimately serving as Executive Vice President, where he was responsible for, among other functions, corporate development and strategy. He later held the positions of Co-Chairman and Co-CEO of Federal Mogul Holdings Corporation, an $8 billion supplier of powertrain, chassis, sealing, brake and other automotive components, prior to its sale to Tenneco.

While with Icahn Enterprises, Ninivaggi also oversaw Icahn Enterprises’ automotive aftermarket service network and parts distribution businesses. Ninivaggi has extensive experience as a director of public companies, including Icahn Enterprises, Motorola Mobility (prior to its sale to Google), Navistar International, Hertz Global Holdings and CVR Energy. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Garrett Motion Inc. (Nasdaq: GTX), a leading Tier 1 supplier of turbochargers and other propulsion products.

“I believe the demand for full-size electric pickup trucks will be strong and the Endurance truck, with its innovative wheel hub motor design, has the opportunity to capture a meaningful share of the market. With an absolute focus on execution, I look forward to working with the talented Lordstown management team, our suppliers and other partners to bring the Endurance [pickup] to market and maximize the value of our assets,” Ninivaggi stated.

Lordstown’s new CEO also has the predictable ivy league education. He’s a graduate of Stanford University School of Law, the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, and Columbia University. Does that garmented he’s going to be the chosen one to right the ship? Probably not. But it undoubtedly helped ensure he got the job.

The company ended the hiring announcement with a paragraph about how forward-looking statements aren’t indicative of much and that the qualifying terminology has been issued under the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

“Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts,” reads the Lordstown release. “Such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements contained herein due to many factors, including, but not limited to: our limited operating history and our significant projected funding needs; our liquidity position and the need to raise substantial additional funding to execute our business plan; risks associated with the conversion and retooling of our facility and ramp up of production; our inability to obtain binding purchase orders from customers and potential customers’ inability to integrate our electric vehicles into their existing fleets; our inability to retain key personnel and to hire additional personnel; competition in the electric pickup truck market; our inability to develop a sales distribution network; and the ability to protect our intellectual property rights.”

It sounds like everything is squared away and we can take it on faith (and only faith) that it’ll be smooth sailing from here on out.

[Image: Lordstown Motors]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Stuki Stuki on Aug 27, 2021

    Nothing says financialized dystopia like triumphantly handing some grand sounding title to a rank yahoo who's been collecting Fed welfare and nothing but, when you don't posses enough competence to put together even an overgrown RC car.... But hey, as long as the Fed can be relied on to reliably rob those less useless for your benefit, why not? It's not called the DembAge for nothing...

  • BillSellwood BillSellwood on Aug 28, 2021

    The original 1.6L engine put out 68hp, although like all Honda engines of the time it seemed like more because of the great torque curve and sound. I think it was the Road & Track review that called the '76 hatch the greatest bargain in automotive history, at an MSRP of $3995. Compare it to the VW Scirrocco of the time. Honda did a great job of stealing the thunder from the Germans in the early days.

  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
  • 1995_SC Can you still get some of the tax credits under the new program?
  • Analoggrotto HyundaiGenesisKia saw this coming a long time ago and are poised for hybrid and plug-in hybrid segment leadership:[list=1][*] The most extensive range of hybrids[/*][*]Highest hybrid sales proportion over any other model [/*][*]Best YouTube reviews [/*][*]Highest number of consumer reports best picks [/*][*]Class leading ATPs among all hybrid vehicles and PHEVs enjoy segment bearing eATPs[/*][/list=1]While some brands like Toyota have invested and wasted untold fortunes into full range electric lineups HyundaiKiaGenesis has taken the right approach here.
  • EBFlex The answer is yes. Anyone that says no is just….. wrong.But the government doesn’t want people to have that much freedom and the politicians aren’t making money off PHEVs or HEVs. So they will be stifled.
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