Electric Truck Maker Nikola Appoints Its 4th CEO in Three Years

Nikola has gone through a series of leadership changes since the ouster of founder Trevor Milton in 2020.

Steve Girsky
Steve Girsky is Nikola’s fourth CEO since 2020. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Electric truck startup Nikola said today (August 4) its CEO Michael Lohscheller has stepped down after less than a year with the company due to a family health matter. His role has been filled by current chairman Steve Girsky, the fourth CEO at the company in three years. Nikola has gone through a series of leadership shakeups since its founder and former CEO Trevor Milton resigned in September 2020 amid allegations of sexual harassment and a conviction of defrauding investors.

Following Milton’s departure, Nikola appointed then-president Mark Russell as CEO. Russell joined the EV maker in February 2019 from a metal manufacturing background as its second-highest executive. Russell retired at the end of 2022 and was succeeded by Lohscheller, who was then leading Nikola’s commercial truck business. Before joining Nikola in February 2022, Lohscheller was the CEO of Opel, a German automaker owned by Stellantis, for nine years. Earlier in his career, Lohscheller held senior executive roles at Mitsubishi’s Europe division and Volkswagen of America.

Nikola’s new CEO, Girsky, became the company’s chairman in 2020 following its SPAC public debut. Girsky was previously the CEO of VectoIQ Acquisition Corp, the special-purpose acquisition company that took Nikola public in June 2020.

“Since Nikola’s inception, I have been a champion of its mission. I am energized to take on this role and build upon the work of Michael and the team,” Girsky said in a statement today.

Nikola said Lohscheller plans to return to Europe to be with his family and will remain at the company in an advisory role through September to support a seamless transition.

Like previous CEOs, Girsky faces the challenging task of ramping up Nikola’s electric truck production and turning a profit.

Today, Nikola reported a drop in sales and widened loss for the quarter that ended in June. The company reported quarterly revenue of $15.4 million, down from $18.1 million a year ago, and a net loss of $217.8 million ($o.31 a share), up from $173 million last year.

Production and delivery also fell during the quarter, in part due to a factory upgrade that caused a production pause. Nikola made 33 trucks in the second quarter, down from 50 a year ago, and shipped 45, down from 48.

Electric Truck Maker Nikola Appoints Its 4th CEO in Three Years