Arvl Van 1

Arrival CEO Steps Aside, Strategy Chief Leaves

Nov. 28, 2022
The C-suite shuffle comes shortly after the EV manufacturer said it will not book any 2023 revenues as it shifts its production focus to Charlotte.

The CEO of struggling electric vehicle maker Arrival has resigned from his role and been named the company’s chairman as part of a leadership overhaul that also has seen the departure of its president and chief of strategy.

Denis Sverdlov—who founded Luxembourg-based Arrival more than seven years ago—has stepped down as CEO, a role he had held since March 2016. Taking his place on an interim basis is Peter Cuneo, a former CEO of Marvel Entertainment Inc. and Remington Products Inc. who in recent years also has helped lead publicly-listed consumer products company Iconix Brand Group and technology venture BeyondView LLC.

The leadership change comes just a few weeks after Sverdlov and his team reported a third-quarter loss of $310 million and again pushed out their timeline for ramping production and generating revenues. (The executives had a few weeks earlier said they would freeze work on their bus program and shift the vast majority of their attention to only making delivery vans in Charlotte, North Carolina, to take advantage of the more promising U.S. market.) The strategy shift and development work needed to ramp up van work means Arrival will have enough cash to make it only until next fall if it does not raise new capital, the company’s leaders said.

“I intend to bring the full depth of my experience to this operational role, ensuring that the company executes on its next set of strategic goals,” Cuneo said in a statement. “I look forward to working closely with Denis, the rest of the board and our employees for the benefit of all Arrival’s stakeholders.”

In a statement, Sverdlov said he is “more committed than ever to ensuring Arrival’s success” and had stepped down to act in the best interests of the company. Stepping aside altogether from his operating role last week was Avinash Rugoobur, who had been Arrival’s strategy chief since early 2019 and its president since July 2020. His departure, the company said, was for personal reasons and he will remain a board member.

The changes at Arrival come at a time when—thanks to the difficulties of product development, scaling operations and tighter financial markets, among other things—several EV startups are facing tougher times after making big investments and being supported by broad optimism. In addition to Arrival, several other firms have had to cut back on their ambitions as they look to balance product development and cash preservation. That, observers say, is setting in motion a market consolidation that could reshape the market in coming quarters.

“Most of these companies have a [cash] runway of 12 to 18 months,” Edward Jones analyst Jeff Windau said last month. “I think 2023 will be difficult for some of these companies, especially in the second half.”

Shares of Arrival (Ticker: ARVL) were down about 9% to roughly 32 cents in midday trading Nov. 28. They have lost about 80% of their value over the past six months, slashing the company’s market capitalization to about $220 million.

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