Rivian Dumps Management, Problems Grow

Rivian dumped two key executives, indicating it is in a crisis that will not end. The electric vehicle maker did not appear to think the news was important, at least not as far as an announcement is concerned. The Wall Street Journal disclosed that Randy Frank, vice president of body and interior engineering, and Steve Gawronski, vice president in charge of parts purchasing, have left the company. Rivian’s decision not to disclose this was less than responsible. (Note that Rivian was among the American tech companies laying off the most people last year.)

Rivian has been rocked by an inability to get its products to market on its timetable. Rivian did not disclose the miss in the investor relations section of its website. Investors needed to turn to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing posted in January. “On a full-year 2022 basis, the company produced 24,337 vehicles and delivered 20,332 vehicles,” the filing stated. Expectations were that the figure would be 25,000. The incident goes to the question of how much Rivian makes its problems public. That, in turn, is at the feet of CEO R.J. Scaringe.

Rivian management also thinks that investors will be impressed by the 90,000 preorders it had when it last reported earnings. Each of these could be canceled, and some almost certainly will be. The market for electric trucks already has burgeoned with the launch of the Ford F-150 Lightning. Other large manufacturers have similar products in their pipelines.

Rivian’s financial results also have been discouraging. In the most recently reported quarter, it lost almost $1.6 billion. Rivian continues to point out that it has about $17 billion in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash. The value of the money should be balanced by its ability to build and sell vehicles. So far, that is not impressive.

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