Hightower Named CEO of Lordstown Motors

LORDSTOWN, Ohio – Edward T. Hightower has been appointed CEO of Lordstown Motors Corp., the company announced this morning.

Hightower succeeds Daniel Ninivaggi, who was elected to a new position as executive chairman of the board of Lordstown Motors. In this role, Ninivaggi will focus on corporate strategy, strategic partnerships and raising capital.

Hightower will also continue to serve as CEO of MIH EV Design LLC, Lordstown Motors’ product development joint venture with Foxconn. He has also been elected to the board of Lordstown Motors.

Hightower joined Lordstown Motors as its president in November 2021, replacing Rich Schmidt in that role. The president and CEO will earn a base salary of $675,000 annually plus eligibility for a bonus, according to a regulatory filing submitted Tuesday.

The company also announced the following personnel moves:

  • Dr. Donna Bell, a former Ford Motor Co. executive with almost 30 years of automotive product development experience, has been appointed executive vice president, product creation, engineering and supply chain, effective immediately.
  • Andrew Reyntjes, a 30-year veteran of the automotive and commercial fleet industry, was appointed senior vice president, sales, service and marketing, effective June 29.
  • Jill Coniglio-Kirk, was appointed vice president of people and culture, effective June 20. She has more than 20 years of experience in automotive human resources roles and building out early-stage organizations.
  • Jane Ritson-Parsons will be transitioning out of the role of chief commercial officer and become an adviser to the company

“Since joining Lordstown Motors, recruiting an experienced and talented management team has been a key priority,” Ninivaggi said.  “With the recent closing of the Foxconn transactions and the launch of our new Foxconn joint venture, Lordstown Motors has shifted to a more engineering and product development-focused OEM.”

In May, Lordstown Motors and Foxconn completed a deal that sold Lordstown’s manufacturing plant to the Taiwanese company for $230 million. The EV startup also finalized a joint venture agreement and a contract manufacturing deal with Foxconn.

Ninivaggi said that the next step is to build Lordstown’s EV engineering talent, develop new products with Foxconn and accelerate its drive to develop relationships with commercial fleets.

The all-electric Endurance pickup, the company’s first product, is slated to begin production by the end of this quarter.

Ninivaggi joined Lordstown Motors in 2021 after founder and former CEO Steve Burns resigned over questions regarding preorders of the Endurance.

“With over 30 years of automotive experience and having made significant contributions to the Endurance launch preparations and Foxconn transactions, Edward is the perfect person to lead the company and launch our product development efforts with Foxconn,” Ninivaggi said of Hightower.

“We now have a focused leadership team with vast experience in developing, launching and commercializing vehicles,” Hightower said.  “I look forward to strengthening our partnership and confirming our first vehicle program over the next several months.  The LMC team also remains laser focused on launching the Endurance this quarter, with commercial deliveries expected in the fourth quarter.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.