Former Marketing VP Accuses Rivian of Firing Her Due to Toxic Bro Culture

Laura Schwab, Rivian's Former Marketing and Sales VP, Accuses Company of Toxic Bro Culture 12 photos
Photo: Rivian/Medium
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Laura Schwab is no rookie in the automotive business. Before joining Rivian in December 2020 as the VP (vice president) of sales and marketing, she led Aston Martin of America for five years as its first female president. She was so excited about the move back then as she now seems disappointed with how she was fired from Rivian. According to her, that was due to a “toxic bro culture.”
In a text she published at Medium, Schwab said she was mostly excluded from crucial meetings where she felt she should participate. The executive blames the Chief Commercial Officer for that without naming him even once. The last person to bear that title at Rivian was Christopher Brown. His LinkedIn page confirms he left the company in August 2018, before Schwab joined the company. Rivian has no CCO nowadays.

It is not clear why Schwab decided to name her boss as the Chief Commercial Officer, but maybe she did that to make it more difficult to determine who exactly her boss was. Schwab is suing Rivian, but we did not have access to the lawsuit while writing this text. Whoever this person is, Schwab said he fired her after she complained about the “blatant marginalization” she experienced at the EV startup.

Schwab said that she would often raise concerns about pricing and manufacturing deadlines that would be completely ignored. Her boss would only listen to these concerns if they were voiced by Schwab’s male colleagues – often less experienced than her.

Being left out of meetings where she felt she should be present, Schwab could not even schedule one-on-one appointments with her boss. He would have told her that he would only answer her through instant messaging outside office hours.

When Schwab asked another female senior executive to include her in meetings related to sales planning, she heard that this other executive was also excluded from them. Without any other option, Schwab contacted her HR business partner and heard from her that her boss did not speak to her as well. Schwab thought things could change.

Two days later, Schwab's boss called her for a meeting in his office, where her HR business partner was also present. That was when she heard that she was being fired due to a “reorganization.” She told them, “tell me another,” and made it clear she knew she was being fired for questioning what was happening.

Schwab ends her text stating that “no woman should be afraid to question the culture they are witnessing at work” and that this was the reason for her “to come forward publicly and hold Rivian accountable.”

Rivian is planning its IPO for next week. We have contacted the company to learn what it has to say about Schwab’s allegations, but Rivian said it has no comments on Schwab's text or on her lawsuit because it is in a "federally mandated quiet period" due to the initial public offering of its shares.
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About the author: Gustavo Henrique Ruffo
Gustavo Henrique Ruffo profile photo

Motoring writer since 1998, Gustavo wants to write relevant stories about cars and their shift to a sustainable future.
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