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Nikola responds to hiring freeze report, says supply-chain department intact

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U.S. Nikola's logo is pictured at an event held to present CNH's new full-electric and Hydrogen fuel-cell battery trucks in partnership with U.S. Nikola event in Turin
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(Reuters) -Nikola Corp's supply-chain department is "intact" and it continues to hire, the electric-truck maker said on Tuesday, in response to a report that it had hit pause on hiring amid executive exits.

"The supply chain department has been intentionally strengthened with new and existing leadership," the company said in a statement.

"Nikola is focusing its efforts on getting its first BEVs and FCEVs to market and continues to hire strategically for critical roles."

Electrek had reported that the company had lost almost its entire supply-chain leadership over the last few months and had put a hiring freeze in place.

Matthew Jenkins, director of supply chain and purchasing; Mike Chaffins, global head of supply chain; and Mike Gallagher, director of purchasing had all left the company, according to the report.

Reuters verified the news of their departures by checking the executives' LinkedIn profiles.

Nikola, which delivered its first batch of trucks in December, is facing allegations of overstating the capabilities of its electric- and hydrogen-powered trucks.

Founder and former Chief Executive Officer Trevor Milton, who left the company in 2020, was criminally charged last year for lying to investors about Nikola's products and technology.

The company is facing a $125 million fine from the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to settle the charges.

Nikola shares lost 35.3% in 2021. They closed up 2.8% on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Yuvraj Malik in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)