Nikola’s Shareholders Know Who’s To Blame

Illustration for article titled Nikola's Shareholders Know Who's To Blame

Photo: Nikola

Nikola, the electric truck startup whose plan for success seems to rely on total chaos, is a public company with shares that can be bought by you, if you enjoy gambling. Shareholders can also vote on things, like a recent advisory vote on a proposal to pay big compensation to “named executive officers.” They did not approve.

The vote is non-binding, but the proposal would have included $159.2 million for Trevor Milton, Nikola’s disgraced founder, Reuters reports. Also included for the same amount was CEO Mark Russell, in a sign that shareholders are fairly unhappy with the performance of Nikola’s stock, if not the performance of Nikola itself as a company.

That’s because Nikola’s stock price, as of this writing, is trading at a little over $15, down from over quadruple that around this time last year, while Nikola as a company remains objectively extremely dubious, in many of the same ways that a startup like Lordstown Motors is, and in many of the same ways that Tesla was years ago.

I’m not saying that buying Nikola stock is dumb, necessarily, especially for those who intend to buy and sell for the short-term, but I’m also not saying that it is smart, simply because the stock market is a casino and most people are bad gamblers. It is funny, however, that the shareholders that are activated enough to vote at all recommended that the compensation proposal not be approved, suggesting that they are in an ambivalent position about Nikola, both owning Nikola stock and giving its leadership side-eye.

That is a strange position to be in, but we are in a strange era of stock trading, in which retail investors are pouring money in, skewing what Wall Street people thought they knew about how the stock market works. And none of this is, to be clear, investment advice, as I simply stand in awe of the people who can stomach it.


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