Volvo’s Javier Varela moves as Operations Chief of Rivian Automotive

On Friday, Rivian Automotive appointed Javier Varela as its new chief operating officer, tapping into his experience from Volvo as the electric-vehicle startup continues to expand its production capacity amid a demand slowdown. Varela, previously a key figure at Volvo for eight years, including serving as deputy CEO and COO in 2022, will join Rivian in August.

Varela’s arrival marks the departure of Frank Klein, who has served as head of operations since 2022 and played a pivotal role in the production ramp-up of Rivian’s R1 SUVs and pickups. Rivian emphasised Varela’s significance, stating that he will play a central role in driving the company’s growth and profitability, overseeing crucial operations such as procurement, manufacturing, logistics, and quality assurance.

This leadership transition comes as Rivian received a substantial $827 million incentive package from the State of Illinois on Thursday to expand operations at its Normal facility. The company intends to utilise this investment to facilitate the production of its more affordable midsize SUV R2 model.


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