Rivian Forum – Rivian R1T & R1S News, Pricing & Order... banner
1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Assuming most of y'all have already seen this but was surprised to see it doesn't appear to have been posted: WSJ News Exclusive | Ex-Rivian Executive’s Discrimination Suit Airs Questions About Business Plans as IPO Looms

And here's Ms. Schwab's personal statement on the matter: Life Outside the Boys Club: Why I Spoke Up About Rivian’s Toxic Bro Culture (and Got Fired).

Ms. Schwab is highly credible and her resume is impeccable. She was one of the few people on the Rivian executive team that had extensive and successful automotive industry career experience. Her comments regarding the lack of a sophisticated marketing and communications team, productions delays, the plan to sell to employees first, and the inability to set and communicate reasonable expectations around production issues are all aligned with experiences many of you have had with Rivian to date. I'm inclined to believe every word she says. In these types of situations, "innocent until proven guilty" does not apply (technically, that only applies in criminal cases anyhow). Rivian is guilty until they can establish they fired her for cause, which I sincerely doubt they will be able to do.

Furthermore, even if not one word of it were true (which I absolutely do not believe and am not suggesting), the level of managerial incompetence evidenced by choosing to fire her days before executing an already in-progress IPO, when the company is legally barred from even attempting to defend its position, is extremely damning. If RJ has his wits about him, or has good PR people and lawyers advising him, he should fire the Chief Growth Officer and probably the head of HR tomorrow for sheer incompetence in the way this was handled. Even if they had excellent and well documented cause to fire her (which, again, I sincerely doubt), they should have waited until after the IPO and conducted a thorough internal investigation of her discrimination claims.

I'm a late pre-order holder and wasn't invited to participate in the DSP, but if I were, I'd be having serious second thoughts this evening. Buyers be ware...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24 Posts
Assuming most of y'all have already seen this but was surprised to see it doesn't appear to have been posted: WSJ News Exclusive | Ex-Rivian Executive’s Discrimination Suit Airs Questions About Business Plans as IPO Looms

And here's Ms. Schwab's personal statement on the matter: Life Outside the Boys Club: Why I Spoke Up About Rivian’s Toxic Bro Culture (and Got Fired).

Ms. Schwab is highly credible and her resume is impeccable. She was one of the few people on the Rivian executive team that had extensive and successful automotive industry career experience. Her comments regarding the lack of a sophisticated marketing and communications team, productions delays, the plan to sell to employees first, and the inability to set and communicate reasonable expectations around production issues are all aligned with experiences many of you have had with Rivian to date. I'm inclined to believe every word she says. In these types of situations, "innocent until proven guilty" does not apply (technically, that only applies in criminal cases anyhow). Rivian is guilty until they can establish they fired her for cause, which I sincerely doubt they will be able to do.

Furthermore, even if not one word of it were true (which I absolutely do not believe and am not suggesting), the level of managerial incompetence evidenced by choosing to fire her days before executing an already in-progress IPO, when the company is legally barred from even attempting to defend its position, is extremely damning. If RJ has his wits about him, or has good PR people and lawyers advising him, he should fire the Chief Growth Officer and probably the head of HR tomorrow for sheer incompetence in the way this was handled. Even if they had excellent and well documented cause to fire her (which, again, I sincerely doubt), they should have waited until after the IPO and conducted a thorough internal investigation of her discrimination claims.

I'm a late pre-order holder and wasn't invited to participate in the DSP, but if I were, I'd be having serious second thoughts this evening. Buyers be ware...
I assume you'll be pulling your pre-order because of the incompetence and all?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I assume you'll be pulling your pre-order because of the incompetence and all?
Quite possibly yes, actually. Had already been having a lot of concerns and second thoughts over some of the other issues discussed elsewhere in this forum. Other options that fit my needs will be to market sooner and with less risk. Plus I have zero tolerance for this type of discrimination from a company that shills its self on values. If you talk the talk, you gotta walk the walk.

But the real point of the comment was, as I stated, related to the business itself and the IPO. If you're not interested in hearing bad news about the company, feel free to not read it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
824 Posts
This is a REALLY bad look and REALLY bad timing. Hard for Rivian to defend itself at this stage, and difficult for a market that is already divided about 50/50 on investing in companies that might want to save the world... Re-thinking the whole DSP thing. Sadly, there are a lot of forces that would have you believe that a fully electric truck is an entire conspiracy theory, and they will want to see Rivian fail. Gotta be smart about the allocation of Funds. This probably won't change my order, but I hope I see some communication from RJ on this matter.

*** I know nothing about her, BUT she could also be a really bad fit for the job, she could be the toxic one, she could have certain levels of incompetence, etc... It just doesn't look great to see this all over the news.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
*** I know nothing about her, BUT she could also be a really bad fit for the job, she could be the toxic one, she could have certain levels of incompetence, etc... It just doesn't look great to see this all over the news.
Those things are possible, but even if true, the way Rivian appears to have handled this was entirely unprofessional and has made the problem significantly worse for them. In well run large organizations, there are defined processes for handling underperforming or "toxic" employees and executives. There are also well defined processes for handling accusations of discrimination. Typically those processes include things like putting the underperforming employee on a performance improvement plan for a period of time before taking action, formally documenting and disclosing to the employee the performance issues, putting employees who make accusations of discrimination on paid leave while internal investigations of the accusation are conducted by paid impartial third parties (typically large law firms that conduct such investigations routinely), and managing the PR impact of these situations effectively. I'm an inhouse attorney with a large financial services company and have a fair amount of direct experience with these matters, so this isn't a totally uninformed opinion.

Its fairly clear simply from the timing of this that none of those things occurred in this case, which is why I think this is an extremely damning and damaging insight into Rivian's corporate culture and processes. If this was truly driven by performance or a desire to "reorganize" her area, it would have been really easy for Rivian to put Ms. Schwab on a PIP and/or paid leave while the accusation was investigated, which would have also kicked the can past the IPO execution date and we probably wouldn't be talking about it. The simple fact that they didn't have the good sense to do something like that says volumes about the sophistication of Rivian's senior management organization and processes. Not a good look days before an IPO...
 

·
Registered
R1S LE in LE Green (8/14/2019 Preorder)
Joined
·
190 Posts
Assuming most of y'all have already seen this but was surprised to see it doesn't appear to have been posted: WSJ News Exclusive | Ex-Rivian Executive’s Discrimination Suit Airs Questions About Business Plans as IPO Looms

And here's Ms. Schwab's personal statement on the matter: Life Outside the Boys Club: Why I Spoke Up About Rivian’s Toxic Bro Culture (and Got Fired).

Ms. Schwab is highly credible and her resume is impeccable. She was one of the few people on the Rivian executive team that had extensive and successful automotive industry career experience. Her comments regarding the lack of a sophisticated marketing and communications team, productions delays, the plan to sell to employees first, and the inability to set and communicate reasonable expectations around production issues are all aligned with experiences many of you have had with Rivian to date. I'm inclined to believe every word she says. In these types of situations, "innocent until proven guilty" does not apply (technically, that only applies in criminal cases anyhow). Rivian is guilty until they can establish they fired her for cause, which I sincerely doubt they will be able to do.

Furthermore, even if not one word of it were true (which I absolutely do not believe and am not suggesting), the level of managerial incompetence evidenced by choosing to fire her days before executing an already in-progress IPO, when the company is legally barred from even attempting to defend its position, is extremely damning. If RJ has his wits about him, or has good PR people and lawyers advising him, he should fire the Chief Growth Officer and probably the head of HR tomorrow for sheer incompetence in the way this was handled. Even if they had excellent and well documented cause to fire her (which, again, I sincerely doubt), they should have waited until after the IPO and conducted a thorough internal investigation of her discrimination claims.

I'm a late pre-order holder and wasn't invited to participate in the DSP, but if I were, I'd be having serious second thoughts this evening. Buyers be ware...
You sling together words with amazing preciseness, detail and clarity—not like the rest of us hacks.
 

·
Registered
R1S LE in LE Green (8/14/2019 Preorder)
Joined
·
190 Posts
Ms Schwab is impressively calculating. She filed her case in court and preemptively presented her arguments in the media at a time when Rivian would not be allowed to respond—she timed this for maximum damage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ms Schwab is impressively calculating. She filed her case in court and preemptively presented her arguments in the media at a time when Rivian would not be allowed to respond—she timed this for maximum damage.
Keep in mind the only reason she was able to be so calculating in her timing (which is exactly what I would have done in her position) is because Rivian handled this poorly. They didn't have to fire her in the middle of their IPO. Per my above post, it was their decision to do so that I find the most damning part of all of this.

You sling together words with amazing preciseness, detail and clarity—not like the rest of us hacks.
I never said, and wouldn't say, the rest of the folks on here are hacks, I've actually learned quite a bit of useful information on here and generally find the discussions to be civil and well intentioned, which is why I choose to participate. I'm a lawyer, so writing with precision, detail and clarity is literally my entire job ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
498 Posts
If the "culture" art Rivian is so toxic for female workers... makes you wonder why more suits/complaints haven arisen?

If her claims are substantiated.. Rivian is liable and must change. Could also be someone who wanted out and a payday to boot. None of us know because we don't work there and we only have one side of the story so far...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
If the "culture" art Rivian is so toxic for female workers... makes you wonder why more suits/complaints haven arisen?

If her claims are substantiated.. Rivian is liable and must change. Could also be someone who wanted out and a payday to boot. None of us know because we don't work there and we only have one side of the story so far...
I agree. If this type of problem is substantiated in court and ruled in her favor...there are changes to be made in Rivian's corporate culture. We are looking in from the outside. let the process play out. Won't affect my decision to support this companies goals though, and I will still participate in the IPO. We would all be hard pressed to find ANY business environment where some type of discrimination is not found in some form. Life is not fair, but we should work hard to make it so.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
I agree that we do not yet know whether Rivian has a pervasive cultural issue around diversity and inclusion; that will be revealed in due course. Based on the limited information available, I'm inclined to think they probably do, such issues are unfortunately extremely common in tech start-ups. But that is not the primary point I'm trying to make. It is the way that Rivian's senior management chose to handle this particular situation that reflects very poorly on their management processes and sophistication. There are any number of things they could have done to avoid this becoming a media/PR stink-storm right in the middle of their IPO process (see my above comments). The fact that they did not do so, and instead did exactly the wrong things at the wrong times such that it would become a media/PR stink storm in the middle of their IPO, is what makes me question their senior management's sophistication and processes.

If you think I'm the only person who's having those thoughts in advance of this IPO, I believe you are mistaken. In the IPO context where real, hard information (not to mention positive EBITDA) is extremely limited or non-existent, questions like "does their senior management know what they're doing when it comes to managing HR issues, crises and PR issues in general" are precisely the type of issues analysts will be focused on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,397 Posts
What was reported here sounds bad.

“Despite my 20 years of auto experience, and my position as VP of Sales and Marketing, I was excluded from crucial meetings that impacted our mission and my team. Time and time again, I raised concerns regarding vehicle pricing and manufacturing deadlines, but no one listened, even though I have extensive experience launching and pricing vehicles. It wasn’t until my (often less experienced) male colleagues raised the exact same ideas that the Chief Commercial Officer would respond. Never in my years in the auto industry had I experienced such blatant marginalization.”

Former Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer said this in her defense:

"Laura is one of the most professional Sales & Marketing Execs I’ve had the pleasure to work with," the tweet said. "I’ve no idea why you’d hire someone of this quality and then not listen to them!"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
384 Posts
Well, this is what happens when you start off your company in a automotive state (Michigan) try to recruit experienced professionals within the industry. But then you don't want those experienced individuals because they do not posses the "out of the box, forward thinking" mindset, so you recruit new young, fresh faces that are clueless in the manufacturing world and in the auto industry.

Then if that scorched Earth process wasn't bad enough, you decide to relocate your corporate headquarters to a state that has no clue how to produce, design, test, develop and market automobiles. Winner-winner, chicken dinner!!!

Everyone seems to think that because these vehicles have no ICE in them, they are just big iPhones that we can create and acquire talent in the hub of silicon valley. St. Elon ran into this problem too. Coders and software programmers are only one small section of the key automotive talent you need to pull off a launch of a new product. Hell, Michigan has been launching new vehicles for over 100 years and we still fail at it.

Sounds to me that if Ms. Schwab was really a "season auto executive", she would have been wearing her big boy pants when she signed onto Rivian and she is now miffed she got dismissed. "Seasoned auto executives" don't take to social media to voice their complaints....especially if they want to be employed within the auto industry again. Just saying...
 

·
Registered
R1S LE in LE Green (8/14/2019 Preorder)
Joined
·
190 Posts
Keep in mind the only reason she was able to be so calculating in her timing (which is exactly what I would have done in her position) is because Rivian handled this poorly. They didn't have to fire her in the middle of their IPO. Per my above post, it was their decision to do so that I find the most damning part of all of this.



I never said, and wouldn't say, the rest of the folks on here are hacks, I've actually learned quite a bit of useful information on here and generally find the discussions to be civil and well intentioned, which is why I choose to participate. I'm a lawyer, so writing with precision, detail and clarity is literally my entire job ;)
All good. It was self-deprecating as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
69 Posts
Then if that scorched Earth process wasn't bad enough, you decide to relocate your corporate headquarters to a state that has no clue how to produce, design, test, develop and market automobiles. Winner-winner, chicken dinner!!!
First, California probably has the highest density of auto design studios, schools, and design professionals in the world. Most major automakers have had studios and offices in CA going back decades.

Sounds to me that if Ms. Schwab was really a "season auto executive", she would have been wearing her big boy pants when she signed onto Rivian and she is now miffed she got dismissed. "Seasoned auto executives" don't take to social media to voice their complaints....especially if they want to be employed within the auto industry again. Just saying...
Second, not suggesting you must give her claims credence or agree with her methods, but your bias is showing out of your "big boy pants." To suggest she's anything other than a "seasoned auto executive" undercuts your argument's credibility.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
65 Posts
After reading her post I did email Rivian and asked about this and about the culture at Rivian. Possibly opening a plant right now in Texas is also a bit of a concern. If they had a plant already, like Tesla, then it would be one thing; but to open a plant now would appear like Rivian agrees with Texas's views and laws that affect only women.

Still, I am slightly concerned by the messenger. Raising this in public is always a strange choice when you have already lawyered up. And I've worked with people who constantly talk about how many years experience they have and that nobody respects them or listens to them, and those people can be painful and tough to work with.

Still it has concerned me enough to reach out. I also know that any response back will have minimal information, if at all. But I am rethinking investing. And I was going to cancel my Ford Lightning preorder, but I am keeping it for now while I see what comes out of all this. Truthfully, drama is not good for any company. Especially not good for a new company. At the same time, I've see the roadshow video and it's not like that billion dollar plant and equipment is going to suddenly go away.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
384 Posts
First, California probably has the highest density of auto design studios, schools, and design professionals in the world. Most major automakers have had studios and offices in CA going back decades.


Second, not suggesting you must give her claims credence or agree with her methods, but your bias is showing out of your "big boy pants." To suggest she's anything other than a "seasoned auto executive" undercuts your argument's credibility.
Design is one thing....my 10 YO son can design a car on an iPad. But actually testing, developing, building, and launching a vehicle in a full size manufacturing facility in another thing. That is why Elon's plant is failing miserably. It was a terrible joint venture plant between GM and Toyota. There is a reason why Michigan is dubbed the auto capital of the world and why Detroit is called "The Motor City".

W.R.T. the Ms. Schwab issue, I ask you to read this story further and see just how much she was compensated after only working in the company for less than 1 year. And the term "Big Boy pants" is a euphemism that loosely translated means to "suck it up"! If she is soooo seasoned, then her experience will allow her to get another executive job in another company. But she claims she left for greener pastures from A-M.

All I am saying that it is tough out there for women, no doubt. But like every other struggle in life, you keep your head down and work harder in the next time. Do you think Mary Barra gave up once in her career at GM? Talk about a Good ol boy club, GM is the worst. But that did not stop her.

Former Rivian executive sues EV builder over gender discrimination
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
69 Posts
Design is one thing....my 10 YO son can design a car on an iPad.
I was simply responding to your claim that California "has no clue how to [...] design [...] automobiles."

All I am saying that it is tough out there for women, no doubt. But like every other struggle in life, you keep your head down and work harder in the next time. Do you think Mary Barra gave up once in her career at GM? Talk about a Good ol boy club, GM is the worst. But that did not stop her.
We can agree to disagree over "sucking it up" and keeping your head down -- in my opinion, nobody should ever have to fear speaking up and raising discrimination issues, and they certainly should never get fired over it.
 
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top