- Anastasiya “Stasy” Pasterick will step down from her position as CFO for beleaguered electric vehicle maker Nikola after serving six months in the role to take the top financial seat at aviation firm Universal Hydrogen, according to releases and filings from both companies.
- Pasterick will stay on as CFO for the Phoenix, Arizona-based EV maker until Dec. 1 and will assist with a transition in the role, according to a company filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. She will begin her role at Universal Hydrogen, a company focused on enabling hydrogen-powered flight, on Dec. 4, according to a Monday press release.
- “Advancing zero-emission mobility is my personal mission and it’s one that’s clearly shared by the Universal Hydrogen team,” Pasterick said in a statement sent to CFO Dive of her move to the aerospace company. “As we continue on that path, we want to make sure we scale in a mindful way, operate with financial discipline, and allocate capital carefully to preserve our first-mover advantage in the space.”
As CFO of the Hawthorne, California-based Universal Hydrogen, Pasterick will take responsibility for the company’s finance operations including FP&A, investor relations, treasury and compliance and capital raise, she said in the statement.
Logging a four-year tenure at the EV automaker, Pasterick has held a variety of top executive roles since joining in 2019, most recently serving as its chief accounting officer and its corporate controller prior to her appointment as CFO, according to her LinkedIn profile. Pasterick stepped into the top financial seat in April after the departure of previous finance chief Kim J. Brady, who had served as CFO since 2017, CFO Dive previously reported.
Nikola decided to accelerate the vesting of an aggregate of 113,014 restricted stock units held by Pasterick, which were scheduled to vest over time, in “recognition” of her contributions, the EV maker said in the company filing, which simply noted Pasterick would be departing for other opportunities.
The automaker “expects to conclude a search for a replacement in short order,” according to the filing. In the interim, key financial leadership will directly report to its president and CEO Stephen J. Girsky, the company said.
Pasterick’s departure is the latest shake-up at the embattled EV maker, which has come under increased scrutiny by the public and by the industry this year amid a costly recall of its battery-electric truck and renewed attention on company founder Trevor Milton. Milton — who resigned from the company in 2020 after facing questions from investors regarding exaggerated claims surrounding Nikola’s production of zero-emission trucks — was convicted of fraud last year in a case surrounding these claims, but his lawyers have recently argued that he should not face incarceration as his claims were not “mean-spirited,” according to a report by Fortune.
The recall of Nikola’s battery-electric truck contributed to widening net loss for the company’s most recent quarter, which comes as the EV market itself continues to weather economic challenges in the face of expanding competition and rising costs.
Following an investigation into the trucks’ battery packs, the company issued a voluntary recall for the trucks and announced it would be replacing the packs with an “alternative solution,” Nikola said in its earnings release for the quarter ended Sept. 30. The total cost of the recall and associated repairs was $61.8 million, accrued as a warranty liability in Nikola’s Q3. Net loss from continuing operations for the quarter rose to $425.8 million, compared to the $236.2 million it reported in 2022 for the prior period.
Nikola is far from the only company in the EV market to be facing challenges; EV charging company Chargepoint saw its shares plunge by 38% last week after posting a dip in revenues and announcing the sudden replacement of both its CEO and CFO, according to a report by Bloomberg. The company’s market capitalization fell from its 2021 peak of $11.2 billion to about $750 million, as the company struggled to keep pace in the U.S. with charging competitor Tesla, Bloomberg reported.
Meanwhile, others in the industry are taking steps to capture customer attention as companies including Tesla, Rivian and Cadillac gear up to launch new vehicles; Rivian will offer customers a free wall charger and $2,000 installation credit for the purchase of an electric pickup truck, Endgadget reported, an offer that comes ahead of the launch of Telsa’s Cybertruck.
Tesla is expected to start delivery of the much-anticipated truck at the end of the month, but views on the launch’s potential benefits are mixed amid industry watchers, with reports pointing to a potential resale fee that has since vanished and other signs that the truck may not be ready to hit the market quite yet — signs which follow a previously uninspiring quarter where price hikes and customer wariness ate at Tesla’s margins, CFO Dive previously reported.
Shares of the EV maker, which is struggling to hang onto its role as the dominant player in the EV space, also fell after company founder Elon Musk supported antisemitic rhetoric on social media platform X, leading to calls by board members for Tesla to put Musk on leave and for brands such as Disney and Warner Bros to halt advertising on the Musk-owned platform, CNN reported.
Nikola did not immediately respond to requests for comment.