Girsky is managing partner of VectoIQ, whose special-purpose acquisition company bought Nikola earlier this year.
Nikola said on Sunday Milton was leaving as the company is battling allegations from a short-seller that it misled investors and automakers. Things turned for the company by way of a September 10 report from short-seller Hindenburg Research that alleged the company was bolstered by "an ocean of lies", including that it captured video of a truck rolling down a hill but presented it as if it was driving on a highway and painted the words "hydrogen electric" onto a vehicle that uses natural gas.
Nikola founder Trevor Milton has stepped down as executive chairman after a short seller accused Milton and the hydrogen and electric truck startup of misleading investors and overstating the value of a business deal. In June, Bloomberg reported that Mr Milton exaggerated the capabilities of the company's debut truck, Nikola One - purportedly a fuel-cell vehicle it never produced or brought to market.
Following the release of the Hindenburg Research report, Nikola issued a statement that called numerous allegations by the firm "false and misleading".
Update: News is breaking that Trevor Milton, Nikola Corp. founder and former executive chairman, was arrested by the DOJ and Federal Bureau of Investigation at Sky Harbor Airport, in Phoenix, Arizona, this morning.
The Nikola Two and Tre the company's flagship trucking products
Soon after, the Wall Street Journal also published an article that the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating on the issue, which further pushed back the company's stocks. "We will work with Nikola to close the transaction we announced almost two weeks ago to seize the growth opportunities in broader markets with our Hydrotec fuel cell and Ultium battery systems, and to engineer and build the Nikola Badger", it said in a statement.
While Nikola officially pushed back on Sept 14, some of the company's responses were more counterarguments than rebuttals.
GM, which recently announced it would receive an 11% stake in Nikola under a partnership, said in a statement on Monday it would work with Nikola to close the deal while stressing it was just one element of its electric vehicle strategy. Nikola refutes the claims.
Milton continued, "We've built a deep bench of talent over the years, and I am confident that Nikola's Chief Executive Officer, Mark Russell, supported by Chief Financial Officer, Kim Brady, and the rest of the leadership team will advance our goal of making Nikola the global leader in zero-emissions transportation". In February, he introduced the Badger truck via a tweet, calling it "the most advanced electric & hydrogen pickup, created to take down the Ford Raptor".
Nikola has had a co-development agreement with Germany's Robert Bosch GmbH since 2017 to develop key components including fuel cells, motors and battery packs. Phoenix-based Nikola is working on models powered both by batteries and fuel cells and planning a hydrogen refueling network. Another product, the Tre battery-electric semi-truck was to start deliveries in 2021. GM will provide the fuel cells and battery packs.