MISHAWAKA — Electric Last Mile Solutions, a new electric van maker located in the former Hummer H2 factory, saw its stock plummet recently after a leadership shake up.
Last week, ELMS announced that company CEO James Taylor and Chairman Jason Luo had resigned following an investigation by a special committee of the board that determined some executives had inappropriately purchased equity in the company before ELMS announced an agreement to go public in December 2020.
The company said Shauna McIntyre, a member of the company’s board of directors, had been appointed to take Taylor’s place and that Brian Krzanich has been appointed non-executive board chairman, replacing Luo, and that its financial statements would be restated as they could no longer be connected upon.
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As a result, the company’s stock plunged more than 30% in one day and is yet to show any signs of recovery. A number of law firms are pursuing class action lawsuits for investors who might have lost money.
The company didn’t respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. But McIntyre, a long-time auto industry veteran, said in a video that ELMS remains committed to producing electric vans for the commercial market.
“I want to assure you in no uncertain terms of our continued focus and dedication to the company’s ongoing business,” McIntyre said in the video.
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ELMS took possession of the former Hummer H2 plant last summer with the intent of producing small electric utility vans with a range of 150 miles that might be used by service or delivery businesses.
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Bill Schalliol, St. Joseph County’s executive director of economic development, said ELMS, which is headquartered in Troy, Mich., had just over 60 employees when he visited the Mishawaka plant around the end of the year.
“We’ve heard they’re going to continue moving forward, despite this setback,” Schalliol said. “They’ve put in a lot of hard work to get this far, and they have a lot of determined people who want to see it work.”
The county has no package of incentives riding on the survival of the business. Indiana has offered tax credits to the company, but those are based on actual job creation.
Jeff Rea, president and CEO of the South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce, said he was surprised by the news last week and is worried it could hurt the company.
“Anything that creates doubt can be problematic for a company, especially if they’re trying to get out of the gate,” Rea said. But even so, he’s hoping the swift action by the board and the company’s business plan will be enough to overcome the setback.
“Everyone wants to see them succeed,” Rea said.
ELMS has said it could employ as many as 900 at the plant by 2025 after it ramps up production of two electric vans it plans to build.
Regardless of the outcome, the county still has a state-of-the-art auto manufacturing plant that has received more than $20 million in upgrades over the past few years and a workforce with experience in the auto industry, Rea said.
“Those are the things that attracted ELMS to the area to begin with,” Rea said.