Nikola shareholders reject executive pay proposal – Metro US

Nikola shareholders reject executive pay proposal

U.S. Nikola’s logo is pictured at an event held to
U.S. Nikola’s logo is pictured at an event held to present CNH’s new full-electric and Hydrogen fuel-cell battery trucks in partnership with U.S. Nikola event in Turin

BERKELEY, California (Reuters) -Shareholders of Nikola Corp have voted against a proposal to approve compensation awarded to its “named executive officers,” including $159.2 million to founder and former executive chairman Trevor R. Milton that was later reduced, the electric truck maker said on Tuesday.

The decision, although non-binding, illustrates shareholders’ discontent about Nikola, once a high-flying company whose shares tanked over 80% from its peak partly due to ongoing probes by regulators and prosecutors.

“Nikola’s shareholders are effectively saying: ‘We don’t like what you did with exec comp last year, you need to do better in the future’,” said George S. Georgiev, a professor at Emory University School of Law​.

Trevor’s $159 million stock-based compensation was cut to $16.5 million under an agreement he signed with the company in September when he resigned, according to a footnote of Nikola’s filing.

The compensation, which includes salary, bonus and stock awards, was proposed to a total of six people, including chief executive officer and president Mark Russell with $159.2 million and Britton Worthen, chief legal officer with $79.6 million. The shareholders’ meeting took place on June 30.

Nikola and some of executives are facing a series of class action lawsuits, which allege they made false and/or misleading statements regarding Nikola’s business plan and prospects.

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by David Gregorio and Richard Pullin)