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Electric vehicle manufacturer Arcimoto abruptly removed CEO Mark Frohnmayer on Aug. 12, promoting another executive to run the company on an interim basis.
Arcimoto, based in Eugene, Ore., didn’t explain the rationale for the sudden change, but the company’s stock is severely depressed and it has been struggling for months against supply chain shortages. Shares fell another 6% in early trading Aug. 12.
Frohnmayer is the company’s largest shareholder. He remains chairman and will have a new executive role as “chief vision officer,” focused on “key technology development programs for the future of sustainable mobility.”
We’re Arcimoto, and we build rides...for a reason. We created the FUV for everyday drivers, the Deliverator for local and last mile delivery, the Rapid Responder for emergency and security services, and the Roadster because it's awesome. $fuv https://t.co/YrFLckaxOx— Arcimoto (@arcimoto) July 28, 2021
The interim CEO is Jesse Fittipaldi, who joined Arcimoto in 2015 and has been chief strategy officer since 2020.
“We endeavor to continue the vision set forth by our founder Mark Frohnmayer, who built Arcimoto from the ground up, starting with a napkin sketch and a dream to build the right tool for the job of daily driving,” Fittipaldi said in a written statement.
Arcimoto did not say how long it expects Fittipaldi to serve as interim CEO or what kind of search the company plans to undertake to find a permanent CEO. Frohnmayer said he will focus on “articulating the long-term vision of the company through key partnerships and future product and technology initiatives.”
Arcimoto makes quirky, three-wheel electric vehicles that it hopes could find a niche in the emerging market for clean, alternative transportation. The startup made the unusual decision to hold a public stock offering in 2017, even though it was a tiny business with very little track record for investors to judge.
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For a time, the gamble seemed to pay off. Shares soared as high as $36 last year amid investor enthusiasm for electric vehicles and a social media endorsement from a prominent electric vehicle investor.
Soon, though, Arcimoto was under attack from short sellers who were betting the stock would fall. A lawsuit alleged Arcimoto had misled its investors about its business prospects.
Meanwhile, pandemic-related supply chain problems and other issues disrupted Arcimoto’s manufacturing plans and the company missed its vehicle delivery targets.
Frohnmayer owned nearly 20% of Arcimoto’s shares in June, when the company issued its annual proxy statement.