Rivian poaches former GM engineer Alex Archer

Byron Hurd

Electric truck startup Rivian scored yet another rising star from the Detroit auto industry establishment with the addition of former GM engineer Alex Archer, the company has confirmed. Archer will start her new role as a design and release engineer later in June. 

Archer generated buzz for designing the power-sliding center console in GM's new full-sized SUVs. Archer, just two years out of Stanford University with a degree in engineering and product design, was then just 24. The project took nine months of engineering work and another six for approval of the prototype console. 

“We are always looking for talent that performs best in the tension between the excitement of building something new, and the important learning that comes from established products and processes," Rivian Chief People Officer Helen Russell told the Detroit Free Press. "We’re excited to have people like Alex coming on board because they represent the best of that balance."

Rivian says it remains in "growth mode" despite recent setbacks, including the termination of a project that would have seen its platform underpin a new electric Lincoln SUV as part of a larger partnership with Ford. While the partnership itself remains intact (and was cemented by the addition of Ford family member Alexandra English to the Rivian board), Rivian was forced to cut 40 jobs in the wake of that and other coronavirus-related setbacks. 

Rivian spokeswoman Amy Mast confirmed the number but told Autoblog the company remains healthy and focused on launching its products. “From time to time, it’s important for any performance-focused and fast-growing company to streamline its organization to improve effectiveness,” she said. “We made recent changes that impacted around 40 employees.”

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