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Lordstown Motors stock plunges after CEO and CFO resign

In this June 25, 2020 file photo, the electric Endurance pick-up truck at Lordstown Motors Corporation is shown, in Lordstown, Ohio. Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns and Chief Financial Officer Julio Rodriguez have resigned from the startup commercial electric vehicle maker. The announcement comes less than a week after Lordstown cautioned that it may not be in business a year from now as it tries to secure funding to start full production of the electric pickup truck. (Tony Dejak, File/AP)

(CNN) — The news just keeps getting worse for Lordstown Motors. The troubled electric truck maker said Monday that its CEO and chief financial officer were stepping down — just one week after warning that the company could go out of business.

Shares of Lordstown plunged nearly 15% in early trading on the news.

Lordstown didn’t give a concrete reason for the departures of CEO Steve Burns and CFO Julio Rodriguez.

But board member David Hamamoto said in a press release that as the company plans to start limited production of its vehicles in late September, it was time to “put in place a seasoned management team with deep experience leading and operating” publicly listed auto companies. Lordstown said it has hired an executive search firm to find a permanent CEO and CFO.

The stock was already down more than 40% so far in 2021 before Monday’s news because the company, which went public last year through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), has been struggling to ramp up production of its electric pickup, the Endurance.

Lordstown has named its lead independent director Angela Strand as executive chairwoman to oversee the company until a replacement is found for Burns, who is also giving up his seat on Lordstown’s board.

Becky Roof, an accountant and consultant who has previously served as interim CFO at Eastman Kodak and retailer Hudson’s Bay, will serve as interim CFO, replacing Rodriguez.

Lordstown has also been battling charges from a research firm named Hindenburg that has questioned the validity of various sales contracts and also raised safety concerns about the Endurance.

In a separate statement Monday, Lordstown said that a special committee that reviewed the Hindenburg allegations concluded that the research firm’s findings are “in significant respects, false and misleading.”

However, the committee did concede that “Lordstown Motors made periodic disclosures regarding pre-orders which were, in certain respects, inaccurate.”

The latest woes are just another blow for the town of Lordstown, Ohio, from which the company takes its name. GM operated a plant there for more than 50 years before shutting it down in 2019. But the plant was saved after GM decided to sell it to Lordstown Motors later that year.

Competition in the electric truck market is intensifying as of late. Ford is launching an electric version of its popular F-150, dubbed the Lightning, while Tesla is working on a futuristic electric pickup called the Cybertruck. GM also has plans to roll out a new electric Chevy Silverado.

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