Several top executives at Rivian Automotive Inc., including the vice president overseeing body engineering and head of supply chain, have left the EV startup in recent months as the company ends a year of missing production targets.
The departures, confirmed by a Rivian spokesman, are the latest developments in a difficult period for Rivian, which introduced its first all-electric models but missed a critical milestone last year when it produced 25,000 vehicles. The company said it missed its target of about 700 vehicles in part due to difficulty in obtaining parts.
Rivian’s shares were also down about 79% by Tuesday’s close after an initial public offering in November 2021.
|RIVN||RIVIAN AUTOMOTIVE INC.||16.45||-0.17||-1.02%|
The outgoing executives were some of Rivia’s longest-tenured employees. They include Randy Frank, vice president of body and interior engineering, and Steve Gawronski, vice president of parts purchasing. The two separated around the beginning of this year.
Mr. Frank joined Rivian in 2019 from Ford Motor Co. Mr. Gawronski joined in 2018 from autonomous vehicle startup Zoox.
Another early hire, Patrick Hunt, chief strategy officer, left the company late last year. Mr. Hunt joined Rivian in 2015.
Neil Citron, Rivia’s general counsel, left in September after 4½ years at the company, which was founded in 2009.
A Rivian spokesperson said the steps were taken to ensure the startup has the talent and staff it needs to ramp up production. The company declined to comment on the individual circumstances of the departures.
“As our business needs change, we continue to attract world-class talent to our company,” he said.
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The departures mark the latest shakeup at the top of Rivian, which has brought in new executives to oversee the company’s manufacturing operations. The company’s first full year of factory production was plagued by supply chain issues and difficulties with the assembly line running at full speed.
Miss. of Nissan Motor Co. Tim Fallon, former head of the Canton plant, was hired in early 2022 to run Rivian’s sole plant in Normal.
In June, Rivian hired Frank Klein from contract manufacturer Magna Steyr as chief operating officer.
In a November email to employees reviewed by the Journal, Mr. Klein wrote that with Mr. Gawronski’s departure, the company is taking the opportunity to make some organizational changes to support the increased complexity the group will manage in the coming years.
Mr. Klein added that Rivian is reorganizing its supply chain management, putting one vice president in charge of supply chain and logistics and another in charge of parts procurement.
He also announced that Rivia has hired Andreas Reutter of toolmaker Stanley Black & Decker Inc. to oversee supply chain logistics.
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The changes at the top of Rivian come as it seeks to transform itself from a start-up looking to raise capital into a mass producer with ambitions to become one of the world’s largest automakers.
Its first all-electric models, the R1T pickup and the R1S sports car, are relatively new. Since the end of 2021, the company has been producing cars exclusively at its factory in Illinois. Until then, he had never produced or sold a single car for retail sale.
As part of its expansion, Rivian has embarked on a hiring spree, growing rapidly from about 1,200 employees in 2019 to 14,000 employees by the summer of last year, and has recently begun creating existing positions at multiple companies.
In April, Anisa Kamadoli Costa was hired as chief sustainability officer at jewelry maker Tiffany Inc. In October, Rivian hired former Capital One Financial Corp. executive Diane Lye as its first chief information officer.
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As Rivian struggled to ramp up factory production, it came under pressure to cut costs. Last summer, the company laid off about 6% of its workforce and cut costs across many of its programs.
The company focused on speeding up the production of the current set of cars. It is also developing an electric delivery van that it sells to Amazon.com Inc.
In an example of the young automaker’s shifting priorities, Rivian has suspended talks with Mercedes-Benz AG on a proposed van partnership in Europe, an expansion target for Chief Executive RJ Scaringe. Rivian said the decision came after reassessing growth opportunities.
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The company reported a net loss of $5 billion for the first nine months of 2022, and its cash pile fell to $13.8 billion at the end of September from $15.46 billion in June. Rivian will announce its full-year results on February 28.