Former Tesla executive joins Rivian

After recently announcing a delay until mid-2021 for their electric pick-up truck and SUV, Rivian Automotive Inc. has hired an ex-Tesla executive to lead its engineering division.

According to a person familiar with the matter, Nick Kalayjian is now the vice president of engineering and product, replacing Mark Vinnels who was in the position for over two years. Vinnels was previously employed by McLaren Automotive Ltd, reports Bloomberg.

Kalayjian spent more than a decade at Tesla in various roles, most recently as vice president of engineering, before leaving the company in June 2018.

Even though he was not hired directly from Tesla, the optics don’t look great as Tesla recently sued Rivian for allegedly poaching employees and stealing company secrets.

Rivian has since responded to the lawsuit, asking the judge to dismiss the case saying it is without merit. The electric start-up also claimed Tesla was only suing them to slow their momentum and damage its brand ahead of the launch of its R1T electric pickup truck.

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