Nikola founder and government chairman Trevor Milton is stepping down from the corporate’s board of administrators after allegations that the zero-emission automobile start-up misled traders, the company announced on Sunday. Milton will likely be changed by present board member Stephen Girsky, a former vice chairman of GM, who will develop into Chairman of the Board. Bloomberg reports the corporate’s shares fell 22 p.c in US pre-market buying and selling.
“We stay dedicated to delivering on our targets and creating worth for our shareholders,” mentioned Mark Russell, Nikola’s Chief Govt Officer.
The electrical truck startup has been below intense scrutiny after a report claimed the corporate had engaged in “lies and deception.” On September 10th, shortly after GM announced it would be taking an 11 percent stake in Nikola, short-selling agency Hindenburg Analysis launched a report titled “Nikola: How to Parlay An Ocean of Lies Into a Partnership With the Largest Auto OEM in America.” Hindenburg accused the corporate of exaggerating the progress of its expertise, specifically claiming that the corporate had staged a video exhibiting one in every of its vans cruising down a hill.
Nikola known as the report “false and defamatory” and mentioned that it contained “dozens” of inaccurate statements. It didn’t dispute that it staged the video exhibiting the truck as useful, nevertheless, but it surely mentioned that it had described the truck as being “in movement” slightly than “below its personal propulsion.” It claimed that Hindenburg was making an attempt to make use of its report back to negatively manipulate the market.
Milton printed a statement on Twitter explaining his rationale and subsequent strikes. “The main focus ought to be on the Firm… not me,” he mentioned. “I plan to defend myself towards false allegations leveled towards me by outdoors detractors” and can be “cheering from the sidelines” for the corporate.
Nikola went public on June 4th, and shortly the corporate’s inventory surged so excessive that the corporate was valued larger than Ford, Bloomberg notes. Initially based again in 2015, its main focus is on making zero-emission huge rigs that use hydrogen gasoline cell expertise.