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Nikola names veteran automotive executive as president to guide global growth

Former Opel CEO and VW executive will report to CEO Mark Russell

Veteran automotive executive Michael Lohscheller has been named president of Nikola Motors.

Nikola Corp. has named Michael Lohscheller as its new president, reporting to CEO Mark Russell who gave up the president’s title.

Lohscheller’s career includes leadership roles in finance, technology, purchasing and logistics at Volkswagen, where he also was executive vice president of Volkswagen Group of America. In addition, he led European brand Opel to profitability under General Motors and Stellantis ownership.

He was recruited to the CFO role at Opel by Steve Girsky, Nikola’s chairman, who was head of GM Europe and the Opel Supervisory Board at the time. 

Lohscheller also led Opel’s transition to become an electric car brand. He most recently served as CEO of VinFast, a global electric vehicle brand in Vietnam.

“As Nikola moves into global production, an experienced and respected industry veteran like Michael strengthens the Nikola team,” Girsky said in a press release. “He knows his way around the manufacturing floors, board rooms and showrooms and has worked with the latest technologies throughout his career.”

Lohscheller said he is up to the challenge at Nikola (NASDAQ: NKLA), which builds battery-electric trucks in a joint venture with Iveco in Ulm, Germany, and at a greenfield plant in Coolidge, Arizona.

“It goes without saying that hydrogen fuel cell and battery-electric zero-emission vehicles are the future of mobility, and I am extremely proud to be joining a company that is paving the way for this global transformation,” he said.

Nikola has begun delivering pre-production battery-electric Class 8 cabovers to a few customers and has received letters of intent from several fleets for the BETs and a hydrogen-powered fuel cell version scheduled for production in 2023. Nikola recently delivered two early builds of the FCET to Anheuser-Busch for testing.

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Alan Adler

Alan Adler is an award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press and the Detroit Free Press. He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.