It’s a historic week for Nikola Motor Company. After six years in the hydrogen trucking business, the company went through a successful merger with VectoIQ and is becoming publicly-traded on the Nasdaq today.
It turns out, becoming publicly-traded isn’t the only interesting thing happening at Nikola Motor Company this week. In a rare move, the company’s founder and CEO Trevor Milton announced on LinkedIn that the entire executive team at Nikola would take $1 salaries. The executives will still receive travel reimbursements and stock bonuses contingent on hitting certain benchmarks.
While Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have experimented with this compensation plan before, no notable company has committed to having its entire executive team do so. To learn more about the decision and what Nikola Motor Company has its eyes on, I asked Milton some questions.
The two reasons why executives at Nikola Motor Company are taking a $1 salary
According to Milton, the decision boils down to two key points. First, it’s a great way to keep incentives aligned from the top down. “We believe having an executive team fully dedicated to the outcome of the company is the best way to be successful,” Milton tells me.
But moreover, Nikola Motor Company makes this move as a gesture to conserve cash. And it will help the company save tens of millions of dollars each year, Milton explains.
Nikola is currently unable to disclose the benchmarks executives need to hit to earn certain tranches of stock bonuses. But “they will be disclosed once submitted to the SEC,” Milton tells me.
Proud of past achievements but looking ahead towards the future
Being in a cutting-edge space, Nikola Motor Company has certainly had its fair share of challenges. And those familiar with Milton’s backstory know his journey wasn’t easy either.
“Getting here was nearly impossible. Starting in my basement, raising capital, out engineering the big OEM’s, finding investors, building a brand, hiring the right employees, and then executing well is nearly impossible,” Milton tells me. “Tomorrow will go down as a great day in history books. What an accomplishment to get traded on the Nasdaq.”
Nikola Motor Company is proud of its achievements to-date but the company believes it has an even more promising future. Recently, the company announced one of the largest hydrogen electrolyzer orders in the world with Norway’s Nel. Hence, with its new equipment, Nikola will be able to produce about 40,000 kilograms of hydrogen each day, Milton says.
“This is a big step towards rolling out our first 5 stations. We are creating the largest hydrogen network in the world and we couldn’t be more proud to be the group that actually does it.”
Lauren Beauban is an Editorial Fellow at theRising, where she covers sustainability news and influential people in the industry. She is also interested in environmental policy and how it affects people. You can pitch her stories at firstname.lastname@example.org