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Boston Herald
Boston Herald
2 Sep 2023
Atlanta Journal-Constitution


NextImg:Electric truck company Rivian hires former Porsche North America CEO

Rivian announced Friday that it has poached a former Porsche executive to add to its team at a critical juncture for the electric vehicle startup.

The California-based automaker hired Kjell Gruner as its chief commercial officer and president of business growth, tasking him with overseeing several company functions including sales and marketing. Gruner has 25 years of automotive experience working stints with Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. He was the CEO of Porsche Cars North America, which is based in Atlanta, until he announced his departure in July.

Gruner’s addition is the latest move Rivian has made in preparation for its planned $5 billion EV factory in Georgia, where it will launch its new electric crossover SUV called the R2. It also comes at a time when the startup is trying to ramp up production and turn a profit by the end of next year.

“We will rely on Kjell’s talent and experience as we position ourselves for growth domestically and internationally, the launch of a new platform in R2 at a new facility and the continued success of our commercial vehicle line,” Rivian CEO R.J. Scaringe said in a news release.

Rivian anticipates building a 16-million-square-foot EV manufacturing plant on a 2,000-acre property in southern Morgan and Walton counties, roughly an hour east of Atlanta. The factory is expected to employ 7,500 workers. In exchange for the investment, the state and local governments offered $1.5 billion in incentives to come to Georgia, including the local property tax breaks.

The company has steadily increased production and revenue in recent financial quarters, but it continues to bleed billions of dollars as it works to gain a foothold in the automobile industry. Rivian ended June with $10.2 billion in cash reserves, which will also help fund the company’s Georgia factory and launch the R2.

Gruner serves on the board of Livewire, an electric motorcycle manufacturer, the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s board, and the board of trustees of the Woodruff Arts Center in Midtown.

“As we build a strong brand, I look forward to chart paths into new markets, build new partnerships and customer experiences and engage with our community while constantly embracing a clear and consistent strategy for the future,” Gruner said in the release.