Former vice president sues Rivian over ‘toxic brother culture’ which she says fired her


Amazon-backed EV startup Rivian is accused of having a “toxic sibling culture that marginalizes women,” according to a former high-ranking carmaker employee.

Rivian’s ex-vice president of sales and marketing Laura Schwab took Average Thursday to announce his abrupt departure from the company after raising internal concerns about the automaker’s culture. The corporate vibe, which Rivian publicly brags about, was nothing more than a “boy’s club,” according to Schwab, which she says simply masks the real wound of gender discrimination within it. .

According to Schwab’s claims, Rivian is a company dominated by men in the most senior positions – which is not exactly unusual in the auto industry – although it expects something else. For the background, she left her post at Aston Martin, where she was the first woman president in the company’s century of history, to join Rivian.

Schwab joined Rivian in November 2020 as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. At that point, she would have realized that the automaker lacked formal organization and didn’t even have concrete plans to successfully launch its first 1,000 vehicles. The 20-year auto industry veteran saw this as her chance to take on the challenge of building the business from scratch. But instead, Schwab says she was excluded from critical meetings that impacted both her team and the company’s mission.

Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe is said to be at the center of the tight-knit “boys club”. These employees would have had direct access to Scaringe and the potential to influence the direction of the company. To make matters more complicated, many employees had apparently worked together before or had hired each other, creating an even tighter network which, in Schwab’s words, “helps the company to make mistakes.”

Schwab felt that despite her background in the industry, it was as if she had not deserved her place at the table. After being excluded from discussions essential to her role as vice president of sales and marketing, including some regarding sales planning and volume, Schwab asked another female senior executive to be included. To her alleged surprise, the other vice-president was also said to have been excluded from meetings, which were also essential to the performance of her duties.

Eventually, Schwab says she raised her concerns with the company’s human resources department. She reportedly mentioned the various alleged cases of exclusion and marginalization of her boss, Rivian’s growth manager, who either refused to schedule meetings with her, or only communicated with her via instant messaging outside of office hours. . She speculated that the company’s “brother culture” had an impact on female employees, and even his trusted HR wife said the chief growth officer hadn’t spoken to her either.

Two days after that meeting, Schwab says she had the first one-on-one conversation with her boss in months when she learned of her dismissal. This was supposedly part of a larger “reorganization” – however, Schwab claims she was the only person to be reorganized. Schwab has since published his account of the case on Average and announced that she had filed a complaint against Rivian for sex discrimination on LinkedIn.

Meanwhile, Rivian is on the verge of becoming a publicly traded company. The automaker hopes to raise around $ 8.4 billion through its initial public offering where it will sell 135 million shares to the public. All in all, this could potentially value the young automaker up to $ 60 billion taking into account restricted stock options. Rivian’s IPO is expected to take place later this month.

In an email to The reader, a spokesperson for Rivian declined to comment, citing the period of mandatory silence before the company’s IPO.

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