With the hiring of former Jaguar Land Rover and Aston Martin marketing veteran Laura Schwab, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe is banking on his growing cadre of seasoned automotive industry professionals to deliver him a smooth launch of the company’s first vehicles.This year, Scaringe has filled his executive roster with at least a half-dozen senior managers who have worked at Tesla, Volvo, Toyota, Nissan, Visteon and Lucid Motors. Several recent high-ranking Rivian hires were from outside automotive, such as Harley-Davidson, Royal Enfield and consumer electronics giants.Schwab, 47, who left Aston Martin on Nov. 13 and last week joined Rivian as vice president of sales and marketing, a new position, brings two decades of experience dealing with luxury customers who don’t wince at six-figure sticker prices. Her most recent launch, the Aston Martin DBX, is a $200,000 high-performance SUV.
Rivian’s two vehicles, the R1T electric pickup coming in June and the R1S battery-powered SUV slated for an August arrival, start well under $100,000 but can easily eclipse six figures when loaded with long-range battery packs, additional motors and accessories.Schwab’s arrival comes at a crucial time. Rivian’s order books are now open. Customers who placed deposits are configuring their vehicles and finalizing purchases, transitioning the startup into a revenue-generating company. Schwab’s role at Rivian will be unlike those she had at JLR and Aston Martin. Rivian will produce only electric vehicles, and it won’t sell and service them through dealerships. Like Tesla, it will sell directly to consumers. Scaringe told Automotive News last month Rivian will open 41 company-owned service centers.
“Laura’s such an exciting addition to our Rivian team,” the company said in a statement. “Her experience in deploying rich and truly personal sales and ownership experiences for customers is a key asset for Rivian as we prepare to deliver our vehicles next summer.”Automotive News named Schwab to its 100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry list this year.She broke the news of her new job on Instagram: “After a couple of restful weeks, I’ve come up for fresh air and new adventures at Rivian.”