Tesla loses engineering VP amid end-of-quarter delivery rush
- Steve MacManus, vice president of interior and exterior engineering at Tesla, has departed the company.
- His next position is not clear and MacManus did not respond to a request for comment.
- His exit came amid Tesla's routine end-of-quarter rush to deliver cars to waiting customers - and adds to a growing number of executive departures in recent months.
- A Tesla spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
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Tesla's vice president of interior and exterior engineering, Steve MacManus, has left the electric automaker , according to a source familiar with the matter.
MacManus did not respond to a request for comment. An email to his company address was returned with an auto-response saying the account was no longer valid.
A company spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
MacManus was not the only executive to leave Tesla among its routine end-of-quarter rush. Senior production executive, Peter Hochholdinger, also left Tesla last week for competitor Lucid Motors. On Tuesday, the blog Electrek reported that Jan Oehmicke was departing his role as head of European operations.
Other executives that have departed Tesla this year include:
- Charles Mwangi , senior director of engineering
- Felicia Mayo, vice president of human resources and head of diversity
- Dave Arnold, senior director of global communications
- Dane Butswinkas, general counsel
While the reporting period's end is usually marked by an all-hands-on-deck flurry to deliver cars to waiting customers, Wall Street analysts fear there could soon be a drop in demand for Tesla's vehicles. Production and delivery numbers for the second quarter, ended June 30, are expected as soon as this week.
"In order to get back on the yellow brick road to profitability in 2H19/FY20," wrote Daniel Ives of Wedbush in a note to clients amid the quarter's final week, "Tesla needs to catalyze demand in the US and see Europe Model 3 success over the coming quarters, coupled by cost cutting initiatives, with next week's delivery numbers announcement (likely next week) an important potential first step on this road to recovery."
Tesla's engineering losses in particular signal a continuing change of strategy. In recent months, the company has told investors of new focuses on autonomous driving, like improvements to Autopilot and plans for a network of autonomous robotaxis by next year. Musk reportedly told investors on a conference call that this product could raise the company's market value to $500 billion.
However, Musk has also promised an eventual Tesla pickup truck and semi-truck, both of which would require a large amount of engineering to design and produce. Most recently, he said a prototype of the pickup truck could arrive as soon as 2019: "I'm dying to make a pickup truck so bad," he said.
Jeff Osborne, an analyst at Cowen, noted after Tesla's shareholder meeting in June that "many pickups are bought by fleets, and given the Tesla Semi has been delayed, we could see fleets be cautious about placing deposits."
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