Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe has taken on another role within the publicly traded EV maker while chief product officer Nick Kalayjian has moved on to work and ultimately to an advisory position, according to a regulatory filing and internal emails viewed by TechCrunch. Scaringe is now responsible for all product development – a critical position in a company working on a next-generation platform that should deliver more affordable EVs and help to catapult Rivian into the mass market.
Kalayjian will move to the role of executive vice president of vehicle engineering and propulsion and will continue to report to the CEO. Scaringe said in an internal email seen by TechCrunch that Kalayjian will focus on “Peregrine” (the next-generation platform that will be used in all vehicles – R1, R2 and the electric delivery van) before he will move into a product and technology advisory role.
“You’ve heard me say it time and time again in our company updates, it’s important that quality plays a key role in our business – not only does it drive how our brand is perceived but it’s an important causing our continued ramp,” Scaringe wrote in his email to employees.
In a separate internal email, Kalayjian wrote:
With this, the time has come for me to change. Over the past few months, I’ve spent time Zooming Out and talking with RJ to understand how my involvement will continue to allow me to have an impact while allowing me to step back from my existing role. My desire to make changes is perfectly aligned with RJ’s desire to redirect more of his time and energy into Product leadership. I have never met anyone in my life or career who is a better mix of engineer and visionary product leader than RJ. I know that having him spend more time working with our Product teams will create significant value for everyone and our shareholders.
The move includes other shuffling in the executive team, especially who reports to Scaringe and Kalayjian.
Richard Farquhar, who has been vice president of propulsion, will step down from his current role on December 11 and into a new role as senior vice president of future R&D. He will report to Scaringe when he returns next year. The quality and reliability teams led by Brad Thacker and Georgios Sarakakis will also report directly to Scaringe.
Paul Frey, who leads charging, energy and adventure products, will be responsible for the battery and will continue to report to Kalayjian. Silva Hiti, senior director of electric power conversion, and Henry Huang, senior director of power and thermal engineering, will also report directly to Kalayjian.