Laura Schwab, the now-former vice president of sales and marketing at electric vehicle startup Rivian, has filed suit against her previous employer alleging she was subjected to a toxic culture of exclusion and a “boy’s club” mentality. Writing in a post on Medium, Schwab described an atmosphere at the company that saw her and other female executives left out of key decision-making processes that were in the scope of their responsibilities.
“Exclusion became a pattern, and I was left out of countless meetings where business needs and my role dictate that I should have been present,” Schwab wrote. “Finally, I asked another female senior executive to please include me in meetings regarding sales planning and volumes, which were key to my work leading the sales and marketing organization. I was stunned when she informed me that she was also excluded from these meetings, which were key to her role as well.” Emphasis Schwab’s.
Motor1.com reached out to Rivian for comment on Schwab’s allegations, but a company spokesperson declined to comment citing a mandatory quiet period ahead of the company’s IPO.
Schwab’s concerns, according to both her Medium post and an interview with The Wall Street Journal (paywalled), ranged from pricing issues to manufacturing deadlines and vehicle quality. The exec, who before joining Rivian had spent five years as president of Aston Martin The Americas and 14 years at Jaguar Land Rover, claims to have brought those concerns to the company’s leadership only to be brushed aside. When male colleagues leveled the same worries, they received a response from the Chief Commercial Officer, who was not mentioned by name in either the Medium post or by the WSJ.
Two days after she went to a human resources representative to address the instances of exclusion, Schwab was brought into a meeting with the CCO and the same HR rep and was told the company was restructuring and eliminating her position. This was despite a previous positive performance review. Schwab’s position was the only one the company terminated as part of the reorganization.
Schwab’s suit, according to the WSJ, comes as Rivian is preparing for its initial public offering. The company is seeking a $60-billion valuation and the IPO is set for next week.