Ex-sales and marketing boss details EV start-up’s “boys club” culture in the wake of her sudden termination.
US electric SUV start-up Rivian has hit headlines globally after ex-sales and marketing boss Laura Schwab spoke out about a “toxic bro culture” at the company, which she links to her sudden termination last week.
In a detailed blog post, Schwab – who previously served as Aston Martin’s president of The Americas – outlined an abrupt dismissal from her high-ranking executive role at Rivian, which she claims is operated as a “boys club” centred around founder and CEO RJ Scaringe.
She is now suing the company over her termination, with a lawsuit filed yesterday at a California Superior Court in Orange County. She alleges Rivian has damaged her reputation and cost her “millions of dollars in unvested equity on the eve of the company’s IPO”.
Rivian has been approached for comment, but the Californian firm has so far not responded publicly to the allegations, citing a “quiet period” in the run-up to its planned IPO next week.
Schwab joined Rivian with 20 years of automotive industry experience, having started at Jaguar Land Rover and worked her way up to become Aston Martin’s first female president.
Joining Rivian as it ramped up to put its R1S and R1T 4x4s into production, she said it was a “crushing blow” to discover a “toxic bro culture that marginalises women and contributes to the company making mistakes”.
She alleges that, upon arrival, the company had “no organisation in place to ensure a successful launch of the promised 1000 vehicles”, and that she was excluded from top-level board meetings that had a direct impact on her role vice president of sales and marketing.
Rivian is “dominated by men at the top”, she said, and there is “a lack of experience among the other executives”. Her concerns about vehicle pricing and manufacturing deadlines were ignored until raised by her “often less experienced” male colleagues, which she describes as a case of “blatant marginalisation”.