Nikola Motors Founder Resigns Amid Fraud Allegations
American electric car manufacturer Nikola Motors has announced that the company's founder and Chairman, Trevor Milton, has asked to be relieved of his position. The company's management granted Mr. Milton's request, appointing former GM Vice President Stephen Girsky as the new Chairman of the Board.
Mr. Milton's resignation came days after it was revealed that the Justice Department and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had launched an investigation into Nikola Motors, probing a complaint by Hindenburg Research, a securities short-selling firm. The latter claims that Nikola's management misled investors by making "dozens" of false claims about technological developments in their reports in order to attract other car manufacturers to cooperate. Mr. Milton himself wrote on Twitter that he intends to "defend himself against false accusations made by detractors."
In early September, GM acquired an 11% stake in Nikola for $2 billion, gaining the right to appoint one person to its Board of Directors. Investors reacted with optimism to the news about the beginning of cooperation between the largest us carmaker and the manufacturer of electric vehicles with hydrogen batteries: GM shares rose by 10% after the announcement, Nikola shares — by 40%.
Nikola Motor company was founded in 2014. The company bears its name in honor of the name of the inventor Nikola Tesla. The company initially set out to produce vehicles without hydrocarbon emissions. To date, Nikola Motor has released several electric truck concepts, with serial production expected in 2021-2023. For retail consumers, the company introduced the Badger electric SUV with hydrogen batteries. The company expects to start mass production of Badger by the end of 2022.