Lordstown Motors Shares Up 20% After It Appoints Ex-Icahn Enterprises As CEO

The shares of Lordstown Motors Corp. were up more than 20% on Thursday, spurred by news that the electric vehicle maker has appointed a former head of Icahn Enterprises LP as chief executive.

Lordstown RIT,
the stock was on its way to its highest close since July 26 and rose the most since November 16, when it gained 26%.

Earlier Thursday, the company said it had appointed Daniel A. Ninivaggi as its chief executive, effective immediately. Ninivaggi is a former CEO of Icahn Enterprises IEP,
and held positions in auto and auto parts companies, among others. Ninivaggi promised “absolute focus on execution”.

Earlier this month, the company hired a new vice president of global quality, Eric Purcell, to oversee quality standards prior to the start of production of the Endurance, the company’s planned electric pickup.

Lordstown reported a second quarter loss earlier in August, but reaffirmed that it was on track to begin “limited production” of the Endurance in September, with first sales early next year and commercial sales by the second quarter. from 2022.

The first half of 2021 was eventful for Lordstown, which went public in October through a reverse merger with a blank check company.

The Ohio plant was owned by General Motors Co. GM,
making compact cars for the old automaker, and was slated to close as part of GM’s focus on more popular and profitable trucks and SUVs. It was then sold to Lordstown Motors.

Lordstown recently added a “going concern” warning to regulatory filings following the departure of its CEO and Chief Financial Officer amid doubts about its order book, with the company later clarifying that the orders it had were non-binding.

The Justice Department has reportedly launched an investigation into the company’s transactions, and the electric truck manufacturer has released an SEC investigation.

The stock is down 78% from its closing record of $31.40 on Sept. 21 and has lost 66% this year. The losses contrast with gains of about 19% for the S&P 500 index SPX,
for 2021.