Nikola founder Trevor Milton on the groundbreaking for the corporate’s manufacturing facility in Coolidge, Arizona, … [+] in July.
Trevor Milton, the founding father of upstart hydrogen truckmaker Nikola Corp., has resigned as its government chairman and from its board within the wake of allegations by an analyst with a brief place within the firm’s stock who had accused him of misrepresenting its expertise and capabilities previous to going public.
“I asked the Board of Directors to let me step aside from my roles as Executive Chairman and a member of the Nikola Board of Directors,” Milton tweeted late Sept. 20. “The focus should be on the Company and its world-changing mission, not me. I intend to defend myself against false allegations leveled against me by outside detractors.”
Nikola “is in amazing hands, and the executive team is well-equipped to lead the Company into the future,” he stated. The brash, 38-year-old entrepreneur is Phoenix-based Nikola’s largest shareholder, with a stake of greater than 20% that Forbes estimates is worth $3.Three billion as of Sept. 18. Trucking trade information web site Freightwaves broke the information of Milton’s departure, citing folks near the matter who weren’t recognized.
Nikola was stung by accusations of fraud and misrepresentation in a Sept. 10 report by Hindenburg Analysis, a monetary analysis agency run by analyst Nate Anderson. Amongst its allegations, the “breakthrough” battery system Milton stated the corporate was engaged on final yr doesn’t exist and Nikola claimed to have designed expertise and car parts bought from different manufactures as its personal. “We have never seen this level of deception at a public company, especially of this size,” Anderson stated.
Nikola launched a detailed rebuttal refuting some, however not all, of the problems raised within the report which the truckmaker says was timed to learn the writer’s wager the hydrogen truckmaker’s stock would fall. Nikola contacted the Securities and Alternate Fee concerning the report and each it and the Justice Division are reportedly reviewing the corporate. Neither company is commenting.
Nikola says it’s undergone “extensive due diligence processes” by quite a few industrial firms it’s partnered with, together with Bosch, Hanwha Group, CNH
Industrial and Common Motors
, and monetary backers ValueAct Capital and VectolQ Acquisition Corp., the corporate it merged with to go public in June. It known as the report by Hindenburg Analysis “false and defamatory.”
Milton patterned himself to some extent after Tesla’s
Elon Musk, making brash statements and boasts about Nikola’s hydrogen and battery tech and lashing out at critics on social media. The Hindenburg got here two days after Nikola shares surged 41% with its announcement of a broad expertise and manufacturing partnership with Common Motors, that gave the biggest U.S. auto an 11% stake within the younger firm.
“When you build a team as a leader, you have to remember that you are the least important person,” Milton stated. “You have to hire smarter people than yourself and remember that the Company’s mission is greater than you are.”
(This can be a creating story. Updates to observe.)