Dr. Kjell Gruner, the former CEO of Porsche Cars North America, has assumed the roles of Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) and President of Business Growth at Rivian, the prominent electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer known for its all-electric R1S SUV, R1T pickup truck, and its partnership with Amazon EDV.
This decision was unveiled by Rivian on Friday, marking a significant development following Gruner's abrupt departure from his position “at his own request” at Porsche Cars North America in July. Gruner had held the position for less than three years.
Automotive News had previously reported Gruner's impending move to Rivian shortly after his departure from Porsche Cars North America. However, at the time, the specific role he would assume at the EV startup remained unclear.
RJ Scaringe, the founder and CEO of Rivian, expressed his enthusiasm for Gruner's appointment, stating, “We are very happy to welcome Kjell to the Rivian team as Chief Commercial Officer and President, Business Growth.” He further highlighted the significance of Gruner's expertise in positioning Rivian for both domestic and international growth, the launch of the new R2 platform at a new facility, and the continued success of Rivian's commercial vehicle line.
Gruner himself expressed his excitement about joining Rivian during this pivotal phase of the company's journey. He acknowledged Rivian's outstanding brand and its remarkable consumer vehicles, the R1T and R1S, as well as the pioneering commercial vans at the core of the company's offerings. Gruner expressed his commitment to forging pathways into new markets, establishing strategic partnerships, enhancing customer experiences, and fostering community engagement while adhering to a clear and consistent strategy for the future.
Before his role as CEO of Porsche Cars North America in 2020, Gruner served as the automaker's Vice President of Marketing for Porsche AG starting in 2010. He also held the position of Director of Strategy for Mercedes-Benz Cars at Daimler beginning in 2004.
As Chief Commercial Officer at Rivian, Gruner will report directly to RJ Scaringe and will have oversight of the company's commercial functions, including sales, marketing, customer care, delivery, service, and fleet operations. This strategic move underscores Rivian's commitment to expanding its presence in the rapidly evolving electric vehicle market under Gruner's leadership.