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Rivian’s Chief Operating Officer Departed Amid Production Ramp-Up

Chief Operating Officer of Rivian RIVN Electric Trucks -5.61%

Automotive Inc left the company last month as the company was ramping up production of its first three models.

A company spokeswoman said Monday that Rivian will eventually produce more than 1,000 vehicles by the end of 2021. Rivian warned last month that the company was likely to miss a few hundred to meet its target of building 1,200 vehicles last year.

The spokeswoman confirmed Monday that Rod Cobbs retired from Rivian in December. Cobbs’ retirement had been planned for months, she said, and the leadership team had absorbed its duties. As of Monday afternoon, Mr. Cobbs was still known on Rivian’s website as the company’s chief operating officer.

Rod Cobbs, who retired from Rivian in December, was a CEO of Royal Enfield Motorcycles.


Photo:

Mike de Sisti/Zuma Press

Mr. Cobbs could not be reached for comment. Prior to joining the startup in June 2020, he was an executive at Royal Enfield motorcycle companies, a unit of India’s Eicher Motors. Ltd.

and harley davidson company

On Monday, Rivian shares closed down 5.6% at $81.44 amid a broader market selling. Shares lost 4% in after-hours trading on news of Mr. Cobbs’ departure.

In November, Rivian raised $13.7 billion in the largest IPO on a US stock exchange since 2014. The stock soared in the early days of trading, reaching a closing high of $172.01 on the fifth trading day after listing at $78. Its market valuation has outpaced that of automakers such as Ford Motor . company

and General Motors company

The stock has been in a steady slide ever since. The slowdown accelerated in December, after Rivian CEO and founder RJ Scaringe told analysts on the company’s first earnings call that the startup expected to miss its production target.

Adding to the pressure recently on the stock is the fact that older automakers are encroaching on Rivian’s core business lines. Last week, global automaker Stellantis NV, which owns the Ram and Chrysler brands, said it had signed a deal to start supplying electric delivery trucks to Amazon.com. company

in 2023.

Amazon, which owns about 19% of Rivian, also has a deal to buy 100,000 Rivian vans, which the startup says it expects to realize by the end of 2025. Spokespeople for Amazon and Rivian said their partnership remains in place, and both companies expect Amazon To source vehicles from multiple companies.

Other companies are getting closer to bringing electric pickup trucks to market, taking advantage of the first-wheel drive Rivian’s R1T truck, which began sales in September and is the only electric vehicle available in the US market. Ford plans to start sales of an electric version of its F-150 pickup truck this spring, and General Motors last week unveiled a new electric version of its Silverado pickup truck that debuts in 2023. Ratings for both Ford and GM have surpassed that of the Rivian.

Electric truck maker Rivian has sought a valuation for its public offering in the tens of billions. But what makes the show different from other electric start-ups? WSJ’s George Downs explains. Illustration: George Downs

electric car

More Wall Street Journal coverage of the industry, handpicked by editors

write to Ben Foldy at Ben.Foldy@wsj.com

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