Why the Nikola Executive Team Is Taking Salaries of $1

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Nikola Corporation is officially a publicly traded company. 

The company, however, did not go public through a traditional IPO.

Instead, the company went through an SPAC--special purpose acquisition companies--with VectoIQ. It now trades under the ticker NKLA.

Trevor Milton, founder and executive chairman of Nikola, joined TheStreet's Katherine Ross to talk about taking the company public and why the entire executive team only makes $1 a year. 

Watch the video above for more.

Video Transcript:

Katherine Ross:
Nikola Corporation is now a publicly-traded company under the ticker NKLA, joining me to discuss going public is Trevor Milton, Founder and Executive Chairman of Nikola. Trevor, why did you choose to go public through an SPAC, why did you make this decision instead of going through the traditional IPO path?

Trevor Milton:
Yeah, there's a couple of reasons why, one is the SPAC, the Special Acquisition Company, it allows you to go public about twice as fast, um, so the speed to market was a really important thing. And the second one is is it allows me to actually communicate with people going into the public offering, um, eh, and when you go IPO you have a very strict quiet period. It, it's rude, just, I just think it's really important to be able to give people the ability to understand your business model, um, so that, you know, going into the, essentially the listing or IPO they have good confidence about what your business model is.

Katherine Ross:
You stepped aside as CEO and going public, and also announced today that your entire executive team would be taking salaries of a dollar, why did you step aside, and what will taking salaries of a dollar mean going forward?

Trevor Milton:
Yeah, it's actually kinda cool. So, um, the CEO actually reports to me as the executive chairman, so, um, when we went, when we decided to go public the major large investors had asked for a separation of incorporate governance between the CEO and the executive chairman. It's good to have more than one voice in the boardroom, and, so, um, the nice thing is the CEO, eh, reports to me, I'm not going anywhere, uh, it's just good for separation. And, uh, I, eh, that I think what you said the second part about all of us taking a dollar salary is I think it's the first time I've ever seen it in my lifetime where a publicly-traded company every single executive's gonna be taking a dollar.

Trevor Milton:
So that means no cash, no cash bonuses, no cash anything except for a dollar, and reimbursement for like travel and stuff. But outside of that what that means is your entire executive team is completely focused on the wellbeing of a company 'cause we only get paid stock if we, if we do well. So I think it's a ... It's just a novel way, and it shows the whole entire team is confident in the business model.

Katherine Ross:
Do you think that more companies should consider doing this if, if they're getting, if the executives are getting paid in stock? I mean that sounds, as you said it sounds like it could make people care more about the company then their own salaries.

Trevor Milton:
I think everyone should do it that way to be honest in my opinion. I mean I would love to see Daimler and Volvo and Peter Bell, all their CEOs and executives, give up their salaries too. It's insane that they're making millions of dollars and they're laying off all their workers, it drives me nuts. I mean one good thing about not taking a salary is, is people know that you have their best interest in mind. Our employees will never question my integrity on why I'm doing things because my ultimate goal is just to really help, um, really help these employees have the best long-term effect on, on everything. 

You can follow Katherine Ross on Twitter at @byKatherineRoss.

Read more from Katherine Ross here.

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