Nikola tumbles after naming fourth CEO in as many years

(Reuters) – Electric truck maker Nikola named its fourth CEO in as many years on Friday as its tries to navigate a host of challenges including depleting cash reserves, supply chain constraints and a pivot to hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Shares of the Phoenix, Arizona-based company fell nearly 12% in trading before the bell, after the company said Chairman Stephen Girsky will take over the helm from Michael Lohscheller, effective immediately.

Girsky was previously on the General Motors’ board and was an adviser to the CEO and the finance chief of the Chevrolet parent.

Lohscheller was stepping down due to a family health matter and would be returning to Europe, the company said. He would remain in an advisory capacity through the end of September, it added.

Separately, Nikola reported a narrower second-quarter loss as lower production of its Tre battery-electric trucks in the April-June period helped keep costs in check.

Nikola has been struggling with dwindling cash reserves as it burns through cash to ramp up production of its trucks.

Its investors on Thursday, however, approved a proposal that allows the truckmaker to issue more shares to raise funds.

“The company does not need new shares, they need new leadership,” founder, Trevor Milton, said in a LinkedIn post in June.

Milton stepped down as CEO of the company in 2020 after a short seller Hindenburg issued a scathing report that labeled Nikola a “fraud.”

Last month, Nikola said it would liquidate the assets of battery maker Romeo Power, which it acquired less than a year ago for $144 million.

Steve Shindler, who has been a board member since 2020, will serve as chairman after Girsky’s appointment, the company said on Friday.

(This story has been corrected to say Stephen Girsky will take over effective immediately, not at the end of the month, in paragraph 2)

(Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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