Nikola CEO to Step Down

Nikola (NASDAQ:NKLA) CEO Mark Russell will retire at the end of the year, the company announced Wednesday.

Russell will be replaced by Michael Lohscheller, formerly the CEO of German automaker Opel, who joined Nikola in February.

Shares of Nikola were up about 4% in premarket trading immediately following the news.

Lohscheller, who currently leads Nikola’s truck-making operation, will become the company’s president and join its board of directors immediately.

Chairman Steven Girsky said Lohscheller has had a significant impact on Nikola in his six months at the company, lauding his “sense of urgency” and “accelerated decision-making.”

“Michael Lohscheller’s selection represents the completion of a thoughtful succession planning process by the board of directors,” Girsky said. “With more than 20 years in the automotive industry, Michael has deep experience as a seasoned executive and as a highly knowledgeable business operator.”

Lohscheller’s career has included a number of high-ranking positions in both finance and manufacturing. He has in the past been president and chief financial officer of Mitsubishi’s Europe division; CFO of Volkswagen of America; and CEO of Opel and a member of Opel parent PSA’s board of directors.

Russell will retire with some important achievements to his credit. He took charge of the company immediately after founder Trevor Milton’s ouster in September 2020, streamlined its product plan, successfully led it to the start of production of the battery-electric Tre semi-truck, and won shareholder approval to issue new stock over Milton’s objection.

NKLA shares forfeited a penny to $6.95.