Nicola Corp founder and executive chairman Trevor Milton is retiring from electric truck. It came in the wake of a report from a short-sale alleging that the company had committed fraud. Milton was followed by former General Motors executive Stephen Girsky on the company board.
Nicola Company stock fell as much as 30% in pre-market trading, currently holding $ 25 a share. Over the past few months, the stock has touched wild trading at $ 79.
“The focus should be on the mission of changing the organization and its world, not me. I want to protect myself against the false accusations leveled at me by outsiders.” Milton said in a statement posted on Twitter.
Earlier this month, Hindenburg Research, a small retailer, published a report alleging that Nicola was misleading investors. Nicola refuted the claims.
“These allegations by small sellers are false and misleading and are designed to manipulate the market to take advantage of Nicola’s stock price decline.” Said Nicola, Following the Hindenburg Research Report.
This report came to the forefront of an important deal for Nicola. The young automaker entered into an agreement with General Motors to give GM 11% ownership in Upstart to bring Nicola’s first model to market instead of technology.
Electric trucks, consumer and commercial versions, are quickly becoming a battleground for vehicle manufacturers. The market for innovation is ripe, and current automakers are looking for partners for kickstart operations. Ford is a pioneer in consumer trucks, along with Rivian, from Michigan, which helps develop electric vehicles for Ford. General Motors seemed smart at the time of announcing its recent partnership with Nicola. Still, now, following the Hindenburg report, the feasibility of this deal is questionable and, with that, the future of GM’s electric pickup.
Update: Nicola Corp founder and former executive chairman Trevor Milton was arrested this morning by DOJ and FBI agents at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, Arizona. This has not yet been confirmed.