• Chethan Machaknur

Nikola confronts future of doubts on chair exit, stock drop

Nikola Corp. faces an uncertain future following the sudden departure of its founder and chairman in the wake of regulatory probes and a collapse of its stock price, even as partner General Motors Co. said it won’t abandon the electric-truck startup.

Trevor Milton stepped down as executive chairman effective immediately and was replaced by Stephen Girsky, the former GM vice chairman who oversaw Nikola’s stock listing and helped broker their partnership. Nikola’s shares -- already reeling from claims of deception leveled by short seller Hindenburg Research -- plunged as much as 30% at one point, its steepest drop ever.

Shares of Nikola closed down 19.3% to an almost four-month low of $27.58. GM fell 4.8% to $30.00. “Nikola is truly in my blood and always will be, and the focus should be on the company and its world-changing mission, not me,” Milton said in a statement. “So I made the difficult decision to approach the board and volunteer to step aside.”

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