On July 5, Porsche announced that Gruner was departing from the sports carmaker at his own request.
Gruner’s marketing, operations, and strategy background could be valuable for Rivian’s goal of entering the high-end market. Despite Gruner’s relatively short tenure as CEO, with less than three years on the job, he steered Porsche’s U.S. business through the Pandemic and set the brand on track to hit a three-year sales high this year.
Porsche disclosed to dealers that it expects U.S. sales to hit 80,000 next year, up nearly 15% from 2022.
Although Gruner’s role at Rivian is undetermined, he expects changes as the EV maker anticipates spending billions on new vehicle model launches, production, and other startup expenses.
In 1999, Gruner left Boston Consulting Group to work for Porsche. He moved from Porsche to Daimler in 2004 and advanced to the position of director of strategy for Mercedes-Benz Cars before returning to Porsche in 2010.
“Due to his skills in marketing, Gruner is a good fit for a public company,” according to a Porsche reseller. Additionally, a source claimed, “He is attuned to ever-changing consumer trends and knows which variants and models are likely to move.”
According to George Gianarikas, Managing Director at Canaccord Genuity, hiring a top executive from a well-known automaker, like Porsche, would help Rivian, which aims to “penetrate the high end of the market,” gain credibility.
According to Ivan Drury, director of insights at Edmunds, “Gruner’s hire might hint that Rivian is preparing to leave startup mode.” He adds, “Having a seasoned automotive veteran with intimate knowledge of selling high-end products will do wonders for the brand.”