Nikola CEO Girsky’s Duties Expand as CFO Departs
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Nikola Corp. CEO Steve Girsky’s workload is set to increase further Dec. 4 with the departure of a key executive at the truck maker.
Chief Financial Officer Anastasiya “Stasy” Pasterick’s last day at Nikola is Dec. 1, the Phoenix-based company said, after the executive resigned to take a similar position at another company seeking to disrupt a transportation sector with a hydrogen-powered electric fuel cell powertrain.
Pasterick resigned Nov. 13 but agreed to remain in the CFO role through Dec. 1 to aid Girsky and the rest of the Nikola leadership team with the transition, the company said in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
Key Nikola financial leadership will report to Girsky once Pasterick departs. The company has begun searching for a new CFO, which it hopes to name soon, a spokeswoman said Nov. 27.
Pasterick assumed the role of CFO in April. She replaced Kim Brady, who had been in the position since November 2017, steering the company through the turmoil of Nikola founder Trevor Milton’s exit. At the time of her appointment, Pasterick held the role of vice president and controller.
Prior to joining Nikola, Pasterick held positions at aviation original equipment manufacturers Erickson Inc. and nLight Inc.
Pasterick’s new role reflects that background. She will join Hawthorne, Calif.-based Universal Hydrogen, which aims to offer hydrogen-powered electric fuel cell powertrains for commercial aircraft.
Even before Pasterick’s departure, Nikola’s senior leadership had seen substantial change over the past 12 months.
Girsky himself has only been CEO since August. Girsky replaced Michael Lohscheller, who stepped down due to a “family health matter,” having assumed the role in January.
In September, Girsky appointed fellow General Motors alum Mary Chan as chief operating officer.
Chan will lead the company’s engineering, program, product, supply chain and manufacturing teams. Girsky wants to streamline decision-making processes at Nikola and sees Chan as part of the solution, the company said.
Chan and Joseph Cappello’s appointment as president of energy followed John Vesco joining Nikola’s board of directors Aug. 31. Vesco’s résumé includes stints as a senior executive at Hub Group and Schneider.
Schneider ranks No. 8 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America, while Hub Group ranks No. 11.
Cappello joined Nikola from Iwatani Corp. of America, which specializes in hydrogen and other industrial gases. Cappello also oversaw a hydrogen production portfolio at Praxair earlier in his career.
Whoever takes over permanently from Pasterick will join a company that overcame significant hurdles to start serial production of its flagship Tre FCEV Class 8 truck July 31 after a retooling of Nikola’s Coolidge, Ariz., manufacturing facility.
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However, many challenges remain for the truck manufacturer as it competes with established legacy players, including the fight to slash cash burn that bedevils so many startups and disruptors.
In the three months that ended Sept. 30, the company posted a net loss of $425.8 million, compared with a $236.2 million loss a year earlier.
Those results were not helped by a $61.8 million bill to recall, repair, re-engineer and retrofit batteries for Nikola’s battery-electric truck. Production and sales of battery-electric trucks is currently on hiatus.
Nikola stopped serial production of the battery-electric truck in May ahead of the Coolidge retooling and start of FCEV production. The battery-electric truck is only available on a “build-to-order” basis.
During Nikola’s third-quarter 2023 earnings call, Pasterick said cash burn fell 25% compared with the previous quarter to $111.9 million, but the company would need to raise more funds than previously expected to meet increased costs, including for the battery recall.
On top of that, Pasterick said during the call, Nikola’s cash requirements could increase further if the majority of the hydrogen infrastructure needed by its trucks and for the company’s refueling business is not financed by partners.
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