Arrival CEO replaced by ex-Marvel Entertainment boss

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Chairman Peter Cuneo takes reins as interim chief executive after Denis Sverdlov leaves role.

Arrival founder Denis Sverdlov will step down from his role as CEO of the British start-up, amid mounting concerns that the company could go bankrupt by the third quarter of 2023.

He will be replaced in the interim by former Marvel Entertainment chief executive Peter Cuneo as the firm looks to secure its future.

In turn, Sverdlov has taken Cuneo’s role as chairman of the board, although Cuneo will continue to attend board meetings as an observer.

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Sverdlov said: “I am more committed than ever to ensuring Arrival’s success, and I will continue to act in the best interests of the company, shareholders, customers, partners and employees.”

Strategy boss Avinash Rugoobur – poached from General Motors’ autonomous driving subsidiary, Cruise, in 2019 – has also left his role for “personal reasons”. He remains a board member.

Rexford Tibbens replaces Rugoobur, taking the reins on the company’s fundraising efforts.

As the market closed on 23 November, Arrival’s share price stood at $0.33 – 96.63% down on its high of $31.54 in December 2021.

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The company received a warning from the Nasdaq stock exchange (on which it trades) on 31 October, stating it had until 1 May 2023 to suprass $1 per share – or else be delisted from the market.

The Nasdaq is closed today (24 November) for the Thanksgiving holiday, so the finanical impact of Sverdlov’s departure from his role has yet to be seen.

The news follows Arrival’s warning that it could be bankrupt by the third quarter of 2023 without a fresh cash injection.

It is in the process of cutting more than 700 jobs as it refocuses on the US market with a larger, ‘XL’ version of its van.

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In September, Arrival announced it had built its first ‘L’ van at its ‘microfactory’ in Bicester, Oxfordshire – but using expensive ‘soft tooling’ typically used for prototyping.

“We cannot make money on the current L van product, given the cost of parts associated with being on low-volume or soft tooling with our suppliers,” chief financial officer John Wozniak told investors on the company’s third quarter earnings call.

Arrival halted development of its ride-hailing car and stopped trials of its electric bus in August in a bid to save cash.

The company took a $20.7 million hit three months earlier when it wrote off the value of its Roborace autonomous racing company, having judged it would never make money.

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