Rivian hires Magna Steyr executive as COO, report says

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EV maker Rivian has hired a top executive from a major auto supplier as its next COO, according to people familiar with the matter, an effort to get its troubled manufacturing operations back on track.

Rivian has struggled to ramp up production, citing supply chain constraints such as a shortage of semiconductors. To help tackle those production snags, it has chosen Frank Klein, the head of the car-making unit at Canada’s Magna International Inc., said the people, who declined to be named.

A representative for Rivian declined to comment.

Rivian CEO R.J. Scaringe told analysts Thursday that a COO would be named next week, saying the new executive would focus on scaling up the company’s production and supply chain operations.

“With our 2022 priorities, we’ve been very focused on ensuring we have the right team working towards our mission,” Scaringe said on a conference call.

The EV-maker is closely followed and backed by a long list of stellar investors. But it has struggled since a blockbuster November IPO, as parts shortages and production hiccups have pummeled the stock. Rivian has been without a COO since the beginning of the year when Rod Copes stepped down after less than two years on the job.

Klein, who did not respond to a request for comment, has been at Magna Steyr since April 2019, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Since July 2020, he has been president of Magna Steyr, the company’s contract vehicle-manufacturing arm. Prior to that, he spent 25 years with Daimler AG.

Magna spokeswoman Tracy Fuerst declined to comment.

Rivian expects to build 25,000 vehicles in 2022, including two consumer models and a battery-electric delivery van for investor and customer Amazon, less than half of planned capacity at its Normal, Ill., factory, which the company has blamed on supply chain constraints.

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