The Lordstown Motors board has appointed Daniel A. Ninivaggi as its new CEO following the resignation of former CEO Steve Burns.
Ninivaggi is the former CEO of Icahn Enterprises L.P., the holding company controlled by billionaire investor Carl Icahn. While his most recent experience is in investments and finance, Ninivaggi has an extensive history in the transportation sector, having also served as the Executive Vice President of Lear Corporation, in addition to Co-Chairman and Co-CEO supplier Federal Mogul Holdings Corporation. He has also served on the board of directors for several major companies, including Navistar International, Hertz Global Holdings and CVR Energy.
In a statement, the 57-year old indicated the company remains laser-focused on bringing the battery-electric Lordstown Endurance truck to market, which will be mainly marketed toward fleet buyers.
“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,” Ninivaggi said in a statement. “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 to market and maximize the value of our assets.”
Ninivaggi joins Lordstown Motors just two months after former CEO Steve Burns resigned following an investigation into allegations that he lied about the number of preorders it had received for its Endurance electric truck. Burns had stated on multiple occasions that the company had received over 100,000 non-binding pre-orders for the truck, a claim that was found to be fictitious by a self-appointed Special Committee.
The probe into Lordstown Motors was sparked by a short-seller report published by Hindenberg Research, which said the Ohio-based start-up had “no revenue and no sellable product,” and had “misled investors on both its demand and production capabilities.” GM sold its Lordstown Assembly plant to the start-up in late 2019 for an undisclosed sum.
Lordstown is the second EV start-up loosely linked to GM to find itself in hot water. The automaker entered a strategic partnership with electric truck maker Nikola last September, however the deal fell apart after yet another Hindenberg Research report found the company had misled investors with regard to the capabilities of its technology. Former Nikola CEO Trevor Milton was later charged with three counts of criminal fraud for lying about “nearly all aspects” of the business.