Trevor Milton (born April 6, 1981) is a former American billionaire, former executive chairman and founder of Nikola Motor Company. In September 2019, Forbes assessed Milton's net worth to be at least $3.2 billion, as he owns at least 20% of his company, and it is valued at about $12.4 billion.
Milton's father, Bill Milton, is a retired Union Pacific Railroad manager and his mother, Sally Milton, is a realtor. He has a brother and three sisters. The family moved to Las Vegas when Milton was a toddler, and returned to Utah when he was eight. Milton is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and after high school went on a 18-month church mission to Brazil, where he became fluent in Portuguese. He dropped out of college after one semester at Utah Valley State University to pursue a career in sales and marketing.
Milton started an alarm sales company immediately after quitting college called St. George Security and Alarm and eventually exited the business for a stated $300,000, though his former business partner claims he was led to believe the exit payment was "much smaller." Milton then launched an online classified ads website selling used cars, which eventually failed and was then followed by Milton’s first alternative energy vehicles company called dHybrid, Inc. dHybrid landed a truck-conversion deal with Swift Transportation, leading to a mid-2012 lawsuit predicated on dHybrid's failure to deliver on its agreement. dHybrid would eventually be purchased by Worthington Industries in 2014 and, in 2015, Milton founded Nikola Motor Company with his brother, Travis, as the director of operations with a background in construction and remodeling.
In September 2020, two days after Nikola established ties with General Motors, short seller Hindenburg Research released a report accusing Milton of making false statements and characterizing Nikola Motor Company as "an intricate fraud" over many years. Nikola stock fell by 8 percent that day, and fell an additional 15 percent the following day after Milton failed to deliver his rebuttal as he previously promised on Twitter. Further verification by Bloomberg and Financial Times confirmed some of the details presented in the report. As of September 12, 2020, Nikola Motor Company was being investigated with regard to a shareholder lawsuit by at least one law firm for possible fraud as detailed in the report from short seller Hindenberg (most of which referred to statements and actions by Milton). On September 14, Bloomberg, the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal all reported that the US Department of Justice joined the SEC in the investigation related to potential securities fraud, and then on September 20, Milton resigned from his position as Executive Chairman.
Milton is married and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. In November 2019, the Los Angeles Times reported that he had bought a 2,000-acre Utah ranch with a 16,800 square foot riverside mansion for $32.5 million. The purchase set a new record price paid for a home in the state.
- CNBC Interview: Nikola executive chairman Trevor Milton on the company's public debut
- Q&A podcast with Trevor Milton, focusing on Nikola's financials and technology