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Will Tesla Survive Its Executive Exodus?

Musk

Tesla has seen a lot of senior executives depart from the company in recent months, which doesn’t bode well for Elon Musk’s promise of the “short burn of the century comin soon,” short seller Jim Chanos says.

“It is never a good sign when almost all your senior executives are leaving with the stock price at a high,” Chanos said on a Bloomberg Opinion podcast last week.

“That’s telling you there’s something wrong. And I don’t know what it is, but almost all the senior executives at Tesla see something and are leaving stock option packages on the table,” Chanos said.

At the end of last month, Chanos told CNBC:

“Probably the number-one sign of impending problem is mass executive departure, I don’t mean one or two people, I mean 30 or 40.”

The latest news report concerning a senior Tesla executive is that Doug Field, Senior VP Engineering, is taking a leave of absence for a few weeks at a crucial moment for Tesla which is struggling to ramp up Model 3 production and has, again, missed its own production targets while posting another record loss for Q1.

In a statement, a Tesla spokesman said:

“Doug is just taking some time off to recharge and spend time with his family. He has not left Tesla.”

Last month, Musk quashed rumors that Field had fallen out of grace in one of his typical Twitter exchanges. Musk said then that he was back to sleeping at the factory to try to solve production bottlenecks, as ‘car biz is hell’.

Although it’s just a leave of absence, Field’s break comes after several senior Tesla executives recently jumped ship. Related: Asian Markets Up On High Oil Prices And Weak Dollar

Jim Keller, vice president of Autopilot and Low Voltage Hardware, joined Intel as a senior vice president last month.

In February, Jon McNeill, previously President of Global Sales & Service at Tesla, joined Lyft as Chief Operating Officer.

Matthew Schwall, the director of field performance engineering at Tesla, who was the company’s main technical contact with U.S. safety investigators, has just joined the self-driving car company Waymo.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Safehaven.com

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