Nikola CEO Mark Russell will retire from his role at the start of next year.
Russell will be replaced by Nikola's current president, Michael Lohscheller, who will join the company's board effective immediately and become CEO on Jan 1, 2023. Russell will remain a member of the electric vehicle manufacturer's board.
Russell was named CEO in June 2020 after joining the company as president in February 2019. Under Russell's leadership, Nikola started series production on its battery electric vehicles (BEV), advanced its fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) pilot testing with select customers, expanded its strategic partner network, continued to build out its Coolidge, Arizona, manufacturing facility and progressed its hydrogen infrastructure capabilities.
"Being part of Nikola has been the highlight of my career," Russell said in a statement. "I could not be prouder of this team and everything we have accomplished and the milestones we have achieved so far. I am confident that under Michael's leadership we will continue to show how to decarbonize heavy commercial transportation, and help the world create the energy ecosystem of the future."
Since joining Nikola in February, Lohscheller has helped move the company's Tre battery electric vehicle into series production and achieve development milestones for the Tre fuel cell electric vehicle.
Nikola board Chairman Steve Girsky touted Lohscheller's more than 20 years of automotive industry experience as well as his "increased sense of urgency" and "accelerated decision-making" during his first six months at the company.
Prior to Nikola, Lohscheller served in several high-ranking roles including chief financial officer of Mitsubishi Motors Europe and Volkswagen Group of America, CEO of Opel Automobile GmbH and a board member of Opel parent PSA Group and the global CEO of VinFast.
The leadership shakeup comes after Nikola beat revenue expectations for the second quarter with $18.1 million on deliveries of 48 Tre BEVs and four Mobile Charging Trailers (MCT). In addition, the company reported a smaller-than-expected adjusted loss of 25 cents per share.
Shares of Nikola are down more than 30% year to date.