Eugene electric vehicle maker Arcimoto abruptly fired its founder chief executive Mark Frohnmayer on Friday, making another executive the CEO of the business as an interim CEO.
Arcimoto did not elaborate on the reason for the sudden change however the stock of the company is deeply depressed and has struggled for months with supply chain issues. The shares fell another 6% in the early hours of trading on Friday.
Frohnmayer is the biggest shareholder. He will remain chairman and be a new executive with the title of “chief vision officer,” which will be focused upon “key technology development programs for the future of sustainable mobility.”
Interim CEO Jesse Fittipaldi, who joined Arcimoto in 2015 and has been the chief of strategy since the year 2020.
“We endeavor to continue the vision set forth by our founder Mark Frohnmayer, who built Arcimoto from the ground up, starting with a napkin sketch and a dream to build the right tool for the job of daily driving,” Fittipaldi stated in a statement written by the company.
Arcimoto didn’t specify the length of time it anticipates Fittipaldi to be interim CEO or what type of search it plans to conduct to locate the permanent CEO. Frohnmayer stated that he would concentrate upon “articulating the long-term vision of the company through key partnerships and future product and technology initiatives.”
Arcimoto creates trippy, electric vehicles with three wheels which it hopes will be a success in the market that is growing for alternative, sustainable transport. The company made the unique choice of holding an offering of stock to the public in 2017, despite the fact it was a tiny company with no track record for investors to evaluate.
At times the bet seemed to pay back. The shares soared to $36 last year thanks to the enthusiasm of investors for electric vehicles, as well as a social media endorsement by a well-known electric vehicle owner.
In the next few days, however, Arcimoto was being attacked by short sellers who bet that the stock would plummet. A lawsuit was filed alleging Arcimoto had misled its investors regarding their business opportunities.
The supply chain related to pandemic problems as well as other issues caused disruption to Arcimoto’s manufacturing processes and the company was unable to meet its targets for delivery of vehicles.
Shares traded on in the early hours of Friday at $3.04.
Frohnmayer was the owner of more than 20% of the shares issued by Arcimoto in June, the month when the company released their annual shareholder statement. He is the father of former Oregon attorney general as well as University of Oregon president David Frohnmayer.
It’s not uncommon for businesses to hire a new CEO when they expand however, it’s uncommon to see companies replace their CEOs suddenly without divulging the long-term plan of leadership to shareholders.