Nikola CEO Steve Girsky shared his positive outlook for the company as it gains stability under his leadership.
“I think our prospects are great. I think 2024 is going to be the best year in the history of the company,” Girsky told FreightWaves in an interview.
The truck manufacturing company has had a few harrowing years after founder Trevor Milton was convicted of three fraud charges in 2022 after making misleading claims about the Nikola One truck in 2016. Milton’s dark shadow over the company is slowly receding. Earlier this month, the Nikola founder was sentenced to four years in prison for multiple counts of fraud. He was also ordered to pay $165 million in damages to Nikola.
Nikola has tried to recover in recent years, which has been an uphill battle. Over the past four years, the company has had four CEOs. As the company’s Chairman, Girsky has had front-row seats in Nikola’s parade of CEOs. After the last CEO left Nikola, Girsky took the helm of CEO himself, seeking to provide stability to the company.
“The board asked, ‘Do you want to do a search?’ I said, ‘No. This company’s had four CEOs in four years. It needs stability.’ I wanted to lead this team,” Girsky recounted.
Girsky stepped down as Chairman, and VectoIQ’s Steve Schindler succeeded him. Girsky started stabilizing the company by surrounding himself with people he could trust. As CEO, one of Girsky’s first moves was to recruit his former partner at VectorIQ, Mary Chan, as Nikola’s first Chief Operating Officer (COO).
Girksy is hopeful that Nikola will find a successor for Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Stacy Pasterick, who retired after six months in the role by January 2024.
“We have candidates that we are chatting with. You’d be surprised at the number of people who are actually interested in this. I would expect to get something announced, hopefully, sometime in January,” said the Nikola CEO.
With solid leadership, Nikola should be able to find a solution to its remaining challenges and goals. The company still needs to find new battery suppliers for the 209 Class 8 battery-electric trucks that were recalled in the summer after two fires. It also has to ramp production on its fuel cell trucks in Arizona after kicking off deliveries earlier this year.