Tesla Has Seen Major Shifts In Upper Management This Year

By Dan Anderson ● July 28, 2019

As Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has been setting high goals and demands at the company, the turnover in upper has been higher in recent years. One of the noticeable transitions in upper management this past week was Tesla co-founder and CTO stepping down after 15 years at the company — who will be succeeded by Tesla VP of Technology Drew Baglino.

“It’s tough to get big names to work at Tesla because it’s such an intense environment,” said Loup Ventures managing partner Gene Munster via Bloomberg. “Tesla’s view is that if you’re not up for this environment, we don’t want you. Tesla’s culture is put-out or get-out, and the people who are there are true believers who are willing to put in the time.”

Some of the other executives that departed this year include former CFO Deepak Ahuja (succeeded by Zach Kirkhorn) and former general counsel Dane Butswinkas (succeeded by Jonathan Chang). And earlier this year, Tesla promoted Vaibhav Taneja from corporate controller to chief accounting officer. David H. Morton, Jr. had worked as chief accounting officer before that — who worked at the automaker for under a month before resigning due “the level public attention placed on the company.” And Tesla’s former VP of production Peter Hochholdinger was hired by Lucid Motors as its VP of manufacturing earlier this month.

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Apple poached Tesla’s VP of engineering Steve MacManus recently — who has been credited with helping the company deal with seating issues. MacManus had also previously worked at Aston Martin, Bentley Motors, and Jaguar Land Rover. And there is speculation that MacManus will oversee some of Apple’s stealth autonomous vehicle initiatives known as Project Titan. In an earlier Bloomberg report, it was pointed out that Apple hired former Tesla VP of Engineering Dr. Michael Schwekutsch and former chief vehicle engineer Doug Field back in August 2018.

The human resources department also saw major shifts in management. Cindy Nicola — the VP of global recruiting & mobility — departed this year. And former Tesla chief people officer Gabrielle Toledano had departed from the company in October 2018. Around that same time, Jerome Guillen was promoted from the VP of Trucks and Programs to President of Automotive. Kevin Kassekert had succeeded Toledano — who was complimented by Musk for leading the construction of Tesla’s battery factory in Nevada.