Nikola Shares Jump On News Of CEO Mark Russell’s Retirement


Nikola CEO Mark Russell will retire at the end of the year, the floundering electric and Hydrogen fuel cell vehicle maker announced Wednesday morning, sending its stock surging in pre-market trading.

Key Facts

Russell will be replaced January 1, 2023, by Michael Lohscheller, the head of Nikola Motors and former CFO of Volkswagen’s North America division.

Shares of Nikola rose 5.6% to $7.35 in pre-market trading Wednesday, still down a whopping 88.8% from its all-time high of $65.90 in June 2020.

Russell replaced Nikola founder Trevor Milton as the company’s top executive after Milton resigned in September 2020 following fraud accusations.

Key Background

Nikola went public on June 4, 2020, at $37.55 per share before surging 75% within a week of trading. Briefly hailed as a rival to Tesla, the company’s fall from grace was just as swift as its meteoric rise. In September 2020, short-seller Hindenburg Research released a report accusing the company of being an “intricate fraud” propped up by lies from Milton. Nikola agreed to pay a $125 million fine from the Securities and Exchange Commission last December related to the accusations of intentionally misleading investors.

Surprising Fact

Russell was briefly a billionaire when Nikola’s stock traded at over $60, and Forbes calculated his stake in the company was worth over $1.3 billion on June 12, 2020. That same stake is now worth about $150 million.

Further Reading

Nikola Stock Surge Turns CEO Mark Russell Into Hydrogen Truckmaker’s Second Billionaire (Forbes)

Nikola Will Pay $125 Million To Settle Fraud Charges As Indicted Ex-CEO Tumbles Out Of Billionaire Ranks (Forbes)

Nikola CEO Keeps Focus On Truck Production In Wake Of Founder’s Fraud Charges (Forbes)