Rivian Manufacturing Chief Departs Company

According to a report from BNN Bloomberg, Rivian Automotive is letting its head of manufacturing go as the company shakes up its executive ranks to better separate its commercial business from the retail side.

Company CEO RJ Scaringe announced Charly Mwangi’s departure in an internal email. Before joining Rivian, Mwangi worked as an engineering executive at electric vehicle (EV) pioneer Tesla.

Scaringe also said that the company’s new chief operations officer, Frank Klein, will start on June 1. Rivian hired Klein, former President of Austrian automotive manufacturer Magna Steyr, to the COO position back in March.

Once Klein starts at Rivian, many of the company’s senior manufacturing, engineering, and supply chain personnel will report to him.

The administrative shuffle is part of the company’s plans to branch off its commercial business, which is primarily focused on building electric delivery vans for Amazon right now, from the retail side, which produces the all-electric R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV.

“This is an important time for our growing business, all of which is happening in an extremely challenging environment,” Scaringe wrote. “We are well-positioned for long-term success, but we must continuously evaluate how we operate.”

Rivian has faced supply chain headwinds and manufacturing delays ever since the company started building EVs at its Normal, Illinois, factory last year. The automaker had to repeatedly delay the R1T, and the first deliveries of the R1S aren’t expected until June.

Despite production delays, the EV startup went public in what was the largest initial public offering of 2021. However, Rivian’s shares have taken a beating since then, falling more than 70% so far this year.

Customer opinion of Rivian (and the company’s share price) took a big hit in March when the company increased prices by up to 25% due to the climbing costs of raw materials and production. The price hikes even extended to reservation holders, but Rivian ultimately rolled back to the original prices for pre-orders after significant pushback.