Rivian Lands Former Tesla Engineering Exec
Plymouth, Mich.-based electric vehicle startup Rivian Automotive has hired Nick Kalayjian as executive vice president in charge of engineering.
He succeeds Mark Vinnels, who reportedly left Rivian last week. Vinnels, who joined Rivian in late 2017, previously held senior leadership roles at McLaren Automotive and Group Lotus.
Kalayjian assumes his new position as Rivian prepares to launch its first models (the R1T pickup and R1S SUV) next year. The company has raised $6 billion—including $2.5 billion last month—from investors such as Amazon, Ford, Cox Automotive and T. Rowe Price.
Plenty of Experience
You may recall that Kalayjian worked for Tesla for more than a decade, including his final two years there as vice president of engineering.
It also should be noted that Tesla filed a lawsuit against Rivian last month, claiming the Plymouth, Mich., startup poached employees and stole trade secrets.
Rivian denies the accusations. And in Kalayjian’s case, the allegations aren’t applicable. According to his LinkedIn profile, Kalayjian left Tesla in mid-2018 to join Plenty, a San Francisco-based startup that develops pesticide-free technologies and software systems for small, indoor sustainable farms.
Kalayjian headed Plenty’s engineering operations. He will continue to serve as an advisor to the company’s board of directors.
Kalayjian previously held engineering positions at Apple and SimpleDevices and co-founded the consulting firm REM Design.
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