At the outset of 2021, Lordstown Motors appeared to be on the cusp of resurrecting auto production in northeast Ohio. With a reported 100k+ fleet preorders for the Endurance pickup in the bag, it appeared to be a new age battery-powered phoenix, one that would revolutionize the work truck market in the U.S. and beyond. Over the ensuing months, however, it became clear that instead of rising from the ashes of the former GM Lordstown Assembly plant, the electric vehicle venture has begun a downward spiral of epic proportions.
First, a hand-built Lordstown Motors test mule mysteriously caught fire in February, just minutes after leaving an R&D facility in Michigan. Then, Ford revealed the 2022 F-150 Lightning, and Lordstown slashed projected 2021 production by half. Now CEO Steve Burns and CFO Julio Rodriguez have officially announced their resignations amid the company’s pleas for capital in hopes of correcting course and staying afloat.
“Steve Burns has resigned as Chief Executive Officer and from the Company’s Board of Directors, and Chief Financial Officer Julio Rodriguez has also resigned,” the Ohio-based company said in a statement Monday. “All changes are effective immediately and the Company has engaged an executive search firm to identify a permanent CEO and CFO.”
The departures of both execs come amidst an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) into Lordstown Motors after a report from Hindenburg Research suggested that the company deceived investors about the number of pre-orders for the upcoming Endurance pickup truck.
Following the test mule fire in February, Lordstown Motors has been seeking additional capital to fund mass production of the Endurance pickup. Previously, CEO Steve Burns had suggested as much as $2.25 billion would be necessary to keep the company operating into 2025. Even with such a massive influx of money, there was no guarantee the company would break even by that timeframe, much less produce a vehicle to meet ever-increasing safety standards.
For the time being, Lordstown Motors has appointed its Lead Independent Director, Angela Strand, as Executive Chairwoman. It has also appointed Becky Roof as interim Chief Financial Officer.