CFO Nikola is stepping down after six months amid a volatile electric vehicle market

CFO Nikola is stepping down after six months amid a volatile electric vehicle market

Diving brief:

  • Anastasia “Stacy” Pastryk will step down as CFO of embattled electric car maker Nikola after serving six months in the role to take the top financial seat at aerospace company Universal Hydrogen, according to prospectuses and filings from the two companies.
  • Pastrick will remain as CFO of the Phoenix, Arizona-based electric vehicle maker through Dec. 1, and will help transition into the role, according to the company’s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. She will begin her role at Universal Hydrogen, a company focused on enabling hydrogen-powered aviation, on December 4, according to a press release issued Monday.
  • “Advancing zero-emission mobility is my personal mission, and one that the Universal Hydrogen team clearly shares,” Pastrick said in a statement sent to CFO Dive about her move to the airline. “As we continue down this path, we want to ensure we scale in a thoughtful manner, operate with financial discipline, and carefully allocate capital to maintain our first-mover advantage in this space.”

Insight Diving:

As CFO of Hawthorne, California-based Universal Hydrogen, she will be responsible for the company’s financial operations including FP&A, investor relations, treasury, compliance and capital raising, she said in the statement.

After logging a four-year tenure at the electric automaker, Pastrick has held a variety of senior executive roles since joining in 2019, most recently as chief accounting officer and corporate controller before being named CFO, according to her LinkedIn profile. Pastrick stepped into the top finance seat in April following the departure of former CFO Kim J. Brady, who had served as CFO since 2017, CFO Dive previously reported.

Nikola has decided to accelerate the vesting of a total of 113,014 restricted stock units owned by Pastrick, which were scheduled to vest over time, “in recognition” of its contributions, the electric car maker said in a company filing, which simply noted that Pastrick would be leaving for other opportunities.

The automaker expects to “end the search for a replacement in a short time,” according to the filing. In the meantime, key financial leadership will report directly to its president and CEO, Steven J. Girsky, the company said.

Pastrick’s departure is the latest shake-up at the beleaguered electric automaker, which has come under increasing scrutiny from the public and industry this year amid a costly recall of its battery-powered electric truck and renewed interest in company founder Trevor Milton. Milton — who resigned from the company in 2020 after facing questions from investors over exaggerated claims surrounding Nikola’s production of zero-emission trucks — was convicted of fraud last year in a case surrounding those allegations, but his lawyers recently argued that he should not face prison because his claims were not ” Despicable,” according to a report by Fortune magazine.

The recall of Nikola’s battery-electric truck contributed to the company’s fourth-quarter net loss, which comes as the electric vehicle market itself continues to face economic challenges in the face of increasing competition and rising costs.

After investigating the trucks’ battery packs, the company issued a voluntary recall of the trucks and announced it would replace the packs “with an alternative solution,” Nikola said in its earnings release for the quarter ending Sept. 30. The recall and associated repairs cost $61.8 million, accrued as a warranty liability in Nikola’s third quarter. Net loss from continuing operations for the quarter increased to $425.8 million, compared to the $236.2 million recorded in 2022 for the prior period.

Nikola is not the only company in the electric vehicle market facing challenges; Electric vehicle charging company Chargepoint saw its shares drop 38% last week after reporting a decline in revenue and announcing the surprise replacement of both its CEO and CFO, according to a report from Bloomberg. Bloomberg reported that the company’s market value fell from its peak in 2021 of $11.2 billion to about $750 million, as the company struggles to keep up with its competitor Tesla in the United States.

Meanwhile, others in the industry are taking steps to capture customer attention as companies including Tesla, Rivian and Cadillac prepare to launch new vehicles; Rivian will offer customers a free wall charger and a $2,000 installation credit toward the purchase of an electric pickup truck, Endgadget reported, an offer that comes ahead of the launch of Telsa’s Cybertruck.

Tesla is expected to begin deliveries of the long-awaited truck at the end of the month, but views on the potential benefits of the launch are mixed among industry watchers, with reports pointing to potential resale fees that have since disappeared and other signs that the truck may not be ready to hit the market. Just yet — signs that follow a previously uninspiring quarter in which price hikes and customer wariness eroded Tesla’s margins, CFO Dive previously reported.

Shares of the electric car maker, which is struggling to cling to its role as a dominant player in the electric car space, also fell after company founder Elon Musk supported anti-Semitic rhetoric on the social media platform status. is on vacation and brands like Disney and Warner Bros. have to stop advertising on the Musk-owned platform, CNN reported.

Nikola did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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