Nikola founder Trevor Milton steps down as chairman in battle with short seller


21st September, 2020 03:20:43 printer

Nikola founder Trevor Milton steps down as chairman in battle with short seller

London (CNN Business)Nikola founder Trevor Milton has stepped down as executive chairman after a short seller accused the hydrogen and electric truck startup of misleading investors and overstating the value of a business deal.

Milton has also resigned from the company's board, Nikola said in a statement on Sunday. The company has previously denied the allegations and threatened legal action against the research company that made them.

Stephen Girsky, a former vice chairman of General Motors (GM) and current board member at Nikola, will take over as chairman with immediate effect.

"The focus should be on the company and its world-changing mission, not me. I intend to defend myself against false accusations leveled against me by outside detractors," Milton said in a statement posted on Twitter.

Hindenburg Research, which makes money by betting against companies, published a report earlier this month alleging a range of misdeeds at Nikola, including that Milton presented a prototype truck as being closer to market than it actually was. The report also said that Nikola mischaracterized a business deal as being worth more than it was.

Shares in the company have dropped by more than 19% since the report was published by Hindenburg.

"These allegations by the short seller are false and misleading, and designed to manipulate the market to profit from a manufactured decline in Nikola's stock price," Nikola said earlier this month in response to a number of Hindenburg allegations.