Trevor Milton, the founder of electric truck start-up Nikola, has stepped down from his roles as executive chairman and board member at the company, Nikola announced this morning. Milton said that Nikola is “truly in my blood.”
Here is Milton’s statement:
“Nikola is truly in my blood and always will be, and the focus should be on the Company and its world-changing mission, not me,” said Milton. “So I made the difficult decision to approach the Board and volunteer to step aside as Executive Chairman. Founding Nikola and growing it into a company that will change transportation for the better and help protect our world’s climate has been an incredible honor.”
“As we move forward, I am confident Steve is the right leader to guide our vision at the Board level. In addition to being an early believer and supporter of Nikola, Steve has more than 30 years of experience working with OEM leaders, suppliers, dealers, labor leaders and national policy makers, and has served as a director of numerous public companies.”
Milton continued, “We’ve built a deep bench of talent over the years, and I am confident that Nikola’s Chief Executive Officer, Mark Russell, supported by Chief Financial Officer, Kim Brady, and the rest of the leadership team will advance our goal of making Nikola the global leader in zero-emissions transportation. I want to thank all of Nikola’s employees, investors and partners who have shared in my vision and rallied behind Nikola during this time.”
Stephen Girsky, a former vice chairman of GM, is now chairman of the board. Milton tweeted:
Milton has been up and down as of late. In June, he got mad and wanted a Bloomberg reporter fired. A week and a half ago, a Nikola short released a damning report on the company and Milton tweeted through it. The next day he said he was “pissed” and tired of the “haters.” There is also that whole SEC investigation.
I hope Milton takes this opportunity to quit Twitter. I also wonder how GM is feeling this morning about that partnership. (I emailed GM and will update this if GM responds.)
Update, 9:26 a.m.: GM gave me the following statement:
We acknowledge Trevor Milton’s departure from Nikola and the decision of the Nikola Board to move forward. We will work with Nikola to close the transaction we announced nearly two weeks ago to seize the growth opportunities in broader markets with our Hydrotec fuel cell and Ultium battery systems, and to engineer and build the Nikola Badger. Nikola, Honda and other companies who are looking to GM’s technology as a platform for their products, represent just one part of our overall EV strategy. Our overall goal is to put everyone in an EV and accelerate adoption.