Rivian hires a new COO amid other leadership and organizational shifts

Rivian has hired a new chief operating officer to lead the restructuring and alignment of its operations, the automaker said Thursday.

Frank Klein will join the company on June 1 as Rivian’s new COO to oversee the automaker’s production, manufacturing engineering and supply chain.

The automaker also said its head of manufacturing engineering, Charly Mwangi, is leaving the company. The EV maker built 2,553 vehicles and delivered 1,227 in the first quarter, which means it must increase production more than tenfold for the rest of the year to meet its target.

“Mr. Klein will oversee production, manufacturing engineering and supply chain,” Rivian said in a statement. “As we ramp production towards our 2022 target of 25,000 vehicles, we are confident these changes will strengthen our ability to more efficiently engage new and existing customers, extend our product offerings, and deepen our relationships with commercial partners. We are committed to maximizing the shift to electrified transportation while driving value for our customers and investors.”

The Irvine, California-based electric vehicle startup has faced increasing production pressures since launching late last year in one of the largest IPOs in U.S. history.

Its first-quarter losses widened nearly fourfold as the EV maker burned through cash battling supply chain constraints and production bottlenecks to bring its R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV to market and deliver its EDV commercial electric van to Amazon.

Still, Rivian reaffirmed its 2022 production goal on a call with investors in May and announced a target to own more than 10% of the global market eventually. CEO RJ Scaringe said that demand is outstripping supply, with more than 90,000 orders in the U.S. and Canada.

The automaker’s top priority now is ramping up production at its factory in Normal, Illinois, where it plans to introduce a second shift this summer. Together, its two factories will ramp up to a projected annual capacity of 600,000 vehicles.

The company is expected to break ground on a factory this summer where it will eventually produce vehicles on its future R2 platform, “a more accessibly priced mid-sized SUV targeting global markets.” The $5 billion facility in Georgia received the state’s largest-ever incentives package of $1.5 billion.

Correction: Charly Mwangi is the head of manufacturing engineering, not manufacturing. Tim Fallon, the company’s is head of manufacturing, and remains with the company.