Categories Technology

Tesla may be moving to a one-man show, literally

The talent drain at Tesla (TSLA) worsened in recent weeks even as the company struggled to put up a good show amidst multiple adversaries. Yet another top executive said goodbye to the electric carmaker this week, hours after its flagship vehicle Model 3 scaled new heights in safety ranking.

The latest to leave is Liam O’Connor, vice president of global supply management. The exodus of executives does not bode well for the company’s stock, and the negative investor sentiment is clearly visible in the stock performance. Moreover, the crisis at the top level comes at a time when CEO Elon Musk is caught up in multiple controversies, triggered by his bizarre statements and the company’s operational glitches.

The exodus does not bode well for the company’s stock, and the negative investor sentiment is clearly visible in the stock performance

O’Connor’s resignation, which was confirmed by sources close to the matter, follows the exit of human resources head Gaby Toledano, communications VP Sarah O’Brien, chief accounting officer Dave Morton and finance chief Justin McAnear. It is not known where O’Connor, who joined Tesla from Apple (AAPL) about three years ago, is headed after leaving the company.

The departures were abrupt in most cases, with Morton ending his stint in less than a month after joining the company and Toledano deciding not to show up after a long leave. According to the sources, more than a dozen executives left Tesla in June alone, soon after the management laid off around 4,000 employees as part of a restructuring.

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The good news for shareholders is that the success of Model 3, which enjoys consistent demand growth, has helped Tesla stay relevant despite the headwinds including Musk’s unconventional ways of handling situations. Now, Model 3 is one of the fast-selling cars and received 5-star rating from a safety monitoring agency earlier this week. Meanwhile, some of the other developments indicate Musk’s troubles are far from over.

Adding to the existing challenges, including Model 3 production delays, the Justice Department recently initiated an inquiry in connection with Musk’s earlier statement on taking the company private.

Shares of Tesla plunged about 7% so far this year and 15% over the past twelve months. The downtrend continued in the last trading session and the stock lost slightly in premarket trading Friday.

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