Troubled EV startup Canoo loses another 4 senior employees

Another handful of senior executives have parted ways with struggling electric vehicle company Canoo as the startup seeks to launch its first vehicle and set up its own manufacturing facilities.

Recent departures include Branden Coté, vice president of product management and sales; Kate Lengyel, Head of Human Resources; John Sotello, senior director of IT and cloud engineering; and Pawel Zoneff, Director of PR and Corporate Communications, wealth have learned. John Mocny, the company’s head of manufacturing, and Rich Schmidt, a senior vice president of manufacturing, recently left the company, Bloomberg first reported.

Zoneff confirmed he had left the company but declined to comment. Others did not respond to a request for comment. “In a company with more than 900 employees, people join, leave and are also asked to leave, and that is the nature of any company of this size,” a Canoo spokeswoman said in a statement.

The electric vehicle market — with players like Rivian Automotive and Lucid Motors — has intrigued investors looking for the next Tesla. While the technology is capital-intensive, electric vehicles promise to help companies meet their lofty emissions reduction goals, and several startups have managed to capture the enthusiasm of retail investors.

Cash-burning electric vehicle companies have taken investors on a rather bumpy ride, but as I’ve previously written, Canoo is notable for its turbulent history, high executive turnover, various litigation and grievances surrounding its CEO, Tony Aquila, who started leading the Company around the time it went public in late 2020. Canoo stock has become a lucrative bet for some short sellers. As of yesterday’s close, Canoo shares were down almost 70% from their January price.

In July, Canoo was handed over in what could potentially become a lifeline. Global retailer Walmart agreed to buy a few thousand vehicles from Canoo and invested in the company (with several conditions). But this deal doesn’t seem to be doing much to appease the high turnover at the startup.

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Canoo’s next big milestone will be bringing his vehicle into production. Roush, a third-party automaker, is initially building the “Gamma” version of its Canoo lifestyle vehicles, according to an internal presentation by wealth. Finally, Canoo plans to build its own facilities in Oklahoma and Arkansas, although they’re far from complete, and the company is in dire need of capital, as made clear in its own SEC filings.

You can read all about the chaos at Canoo in a recently published feature story, which you can find here.

Until tomorrow,

Jessica Mathews
Twitter: @jessicakmathews
E-mail: [email protected]
Submit an offer for the term sheet Newsletter here.

Jackson Fordyce curated the deals section of today’s newsletter.


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