Arrival CEO steps back amidst the electric van startup’s financial woes

Denis Sverdlov, the CEO and founder of the embattled EV startup Arrival, has stepped back from the company’s day-to-day operations, according to The Financial Times and Bloomberg. Sverdlov won’t be leaving the company completely but will instead switch places with Arrival chair Peter Cuneo, who served as CEO of Marvel Entertainment before it was acquired by Disney. 

Arrival had big plans for the EV space and was developing an electric van, bus and car. In the middle of 2022, however, the company cut its workforce because it was running out of cash. It also announced that it was shuttering its bus and car projects completely to focus on developing its vans for the US market, citing the EV tax credits the US offers as a major factor in its decision. Cuneo will run the company while it’s seeking to raise funds under the threat of bankruptcy. 

Arrival likely decided on the swap, hoping Cuneo could use his expertise — after all, he’s known for orchestrating successful corporate turnarounds and had helped guide Marvel out of bankruptcy during his tenure as its CEO. Whatever Cuneo decides to do, he’ll have to accomplish it without the help of one key executive: Avinash Rugoobur, company president and strategy chief, has left his roles but will still serve as a board member. 

The EV startup teamed up with UPS to build a new generation of electric delivery vans in 2018, and in 2020, UPS put in an order for 10,000 vehicles to be rolled out over the next few years. Arrival said in September that despite issues with production, it was done building a “production verification vehicle” and that it will be able to deliver 20 vans to customers by the end of the year. 

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