back to article Musk axes two more senior Tesla leaders, guts public policy team – report

The organizational tree at Tesla keeps shedding leaves, and a surprising number keep falling from the top with two more high-profile executives reportedly leaving the firm.  Elon Musk has announced Rebecca Tinucci, Tesla senior director of EV charging, and Daniel Ho, director of vehicle programs and new product initiatives, …

  1. aerogems Silver badge
    Alert

    Rats + Sinking Ship

    The somewhat more interesting thing is how many of these people are offloading massive numbers of Tesla shares on their way out. It's almost like they expect the bottom to fall out at any minute.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Rats + Sinking Ship

      Once they are no longer employed by Tesla there are no filings required for their sales, so we'll never know.

      1. aerogems Silver badge

        Re: Rats + Sinking Ship

        There still are for top executives who are looking to unload hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars worth of stock. Not sure how long it lasts, probably depends on how high up in the hierarchy you were, but we already know at least one of the execs (think it was the guy who quit in the middle of the earnings call) just dumped like his entire supply of Tesla stock.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: Rats + Sinking Ship

          There are certain cases where you have to report sales after you leave a company. I think there's a six month period after leaving where you have to report selling shares if you had bought any in the previous six months before the date sale (or the reverse)

          So if he had to file that sale he probably had purchased shares (likely from exercising stock options) within the previous six months.

      2. bazza Silver badge

        Re: Rats + Sinking Ship

        Though, someone will know (a broker, for example). One wonders just how far the bonds of client confidentiality actually go...

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Rats + Sinking Ship

      Oh Tesla is comfortably into meme-stock territory I would think.

      I will concede that a few years ago it was a plausible bet, but there is little real innovation now and car price drops suggest a panic over lost market share. In other tech products some have managed to embrace the move to costly-minority part of the market (e.g. Apple with the iPhone) but I think for Tesla is was replace-Ford-and-GM-or-bust. And so it is likely to play out.

      But I could be wrong

  2. Ozumo

    Shooting messengers

    Straight out of the autocrat playbook - dismiss the competent in favour of yes-men if they show any sign of dissent.

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Shooting messengers

      They are not "yes-men". They are simply people who pass the "trustworthy test". As anyone who questions orders cannot be trusted to carry out Musk's exact will to the letter.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shooting messengers

        That always ends well.

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
          Alert

          Re: Shooting messengers

          Evil Overlord list:

          32. I will not fly into a rage and kill a messenger who brings me bad news just to illustrate how evil I really am. Good messengers are hard to come by.

          1. MyffyW Silver badge

            Re: Shooting messengers

            32a. Force Choke is to be used sparingly. Please dispose of your cadavers responsibly.

    2. CountCadaver Silver badge

      Re: Shooting messengers

      Kinda reminds me of Scientology...

      1. Bebu Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Shooting messengers

        《Kinda reminds me of Scientology...》

        You wouldn't be the first to remark on the similarity between Elron and Elon and their respective cults. :)

        Transmigration of (damned) souls perhaps?

    3. Mark 85

      Re: Shooting messengers

      Straight out of the autocrat playbook - dismiss the competent in favour of yes-men if they show any sign of dissent.

      Reminds me of a certain former President.

  3. Dan 55 Silver badge

    After Tesla, SpaceX

    The future of US space travel is not looking too great now that SpaceX will be the only (taxpayer subsidised) business left which Musk can squeeze money out of so that he can live in the way he's become accustomed.

    1. aerogems Silver badge
      IT Angle

      Re: After Tesla, SpaceX

      As much as I understand the decision to end the shuttle program, I still consider that to be one of Obama's biggest blunders. Sure, the shuttles were old, hard to repair, and a bunch of other things, but handing that sort of thing over to private companies? I suppose it's at least a little better than relying on the Russians, where safety is more of an afterthought if it's considered at all. They should have been working on a replacement for the shuttle decades ago. I mean, what if SpaceX or any other of the private companies being relied upon by NASA goes titsup? Then what?

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: After Tesla, SpaceX

        It's not Obama's fault that the fuel cells the Shuttles used were more or less unsupportable. The Shuttles were a very old design that could barely be supported at the end. They were always going to have to retire those vehicles.

        The only thing that has been handed over to private companies really is flight ops. NASA in its glory days was using all manner of companies to manufacture whole space craft (LEM, Apollo, etc), NASA just owned the integration and launch facilities and ran the missions.

        The Russian design is actuall good from a safety point of view. They're not fools when it comes to this kind of thing. Whether or not they can sustain reliable production is another matter.

        They should indeed have been working on a Shuttle replacement long before its retuirement.

        1. aerogems Silver badge

          Re: After Tesla, SpaceX

          Well, yeah, the blunder is more in not replacing it with something else. Which, to be fair, falls on Clinton, and GWB too.

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: After Tesla, SpaceX

            The Shuttle was a prototype that worked too well and because it did, no one looked at how expensive (really far too expensive) and difficult missions were. It's the main reason why the US stopped worked on simple launchers and handed the market for commercial launchers to others.

          2. CountCadaver Silver badge

            Re: After Tesla, SpaceX

            Not to mention HW Bush and possibly the Reagan administration given the long lead time for something this complex and the compromises that were made in it's design that gen 2,3 and 4 would have eliminated (see jet fighters as an example....first few served 5-10 years, most recent iterations have in some cases served over 50 (F-15 dates back to the 1970s)

            1. Charlie Clark Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: After Tesla, SpaceX

              Reagan didn't really care about space until Nancy suggested Star Wars.

      2. Oneman2Many

        Re: After Tesla, SpaceX

        That is why you have multiple options, Dragon, Starliner and Dreamchaser has a private contract.

        And whiles the systems are privately developed they all have NASA oversight.

        You know that Shuttle was privately developed and manufactured but operated by NASA. Stuttle was rockwell, RS-25 areojet rocketdyne, srb was Thiokol, etc

        Oh and NASA has been working on their own human rated system, how is that working out for them.

        1. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: After Tesla, SpaceX

          Almost EVERYTHING is "privately developed and manufactured but operated by NASA" including the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Hubble, and JWST programs.

          Except actually for Dragon, Starliner and Dreamchaser. The COTS stuff is privately developed, manufactured AND operated. It's just paid for by flying contracts for NASA and NASA gives them permission to dock to ISS. The FAA gives them a license to fly.

          If MIR still existed, Dragon/Starliner/Dreamchaser could fly to it without any NASA involvement (politics notwithstanding)

          That's how the Polaris Dawn stuff is working. That's private people paying another private company for a launch, capsule, and mission control. No NASA involvement except as an external party interested in seeing how it all pans out like the rest of us.

          SLS is not a rocket program. It's a jobs program and a vampire on NASA's funds.

          1. Oneman2Many

            Re: After Tesla, SpaceX

            Not sure who is signing off Polaris Dawn. The launch vehicle (F9) is human rate and dragon capsule is as well but they are making quite a big change and don't know about the suits that will be used for EVA which apparently a development of the existing suits they wear for launch & return. For NASA missions they would have certified them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: After Tesla, SpaceX

      He’ll probably apply for some CHIPS money and start building a fab in the Chihuahuan Desert region of Texas.

  4. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    One of the big draws of Tesla is its supercharger network. Cutting the team that work on that is not going to help sales. Related, lots of American car makers said they'd switch to Tesla's charging connector. I wonder if they're going to start re-thinking that decision?

    1. martinusher Silver badge

      >Cutting the team that work on that is not going to help sales.

      I've seen companies do this in other fields. Its usually followed up by the work restarting elsewhere, often in China.

      We don't know what deals were cut by Musk when he was in China recently. The headlines talk about "FSD" being acceptable to their regulatory agencies but I suspect things have got a bit deeper since China is already the largest manufacturer -- and market -- for Teslas.

      1. Steve Hersey

        Except for ... BYD

        Tesla will have a hard time competing with BYD in the Chinese domestic market. BYD has better build quality, newer designs, and - critically - they are not a foreign company. That last factor will deliver both political and customer-preference advantages to BYD. The Chinese government is notorious for tipping the scales in favor of domestic producers over Western multinationals, and I doubt this will be an exception. (And one cannot really blame them for that.)

        Tesla may be "successful" in China in a break-even sort of way, but it sure won't be a growth engine or a money-spinner.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This is probably good news. A lot of the team will be picked up. They were more successful that others, and they have just been freed to start a 2.0 iteration without Tesla baggage.

      A second network, or equipment suppliers, of compatible where it matters chargers that work properly, will be a very good thing. Other car makers are likely to feel more secure without Muskian flakiness hanging over charging.

      ( c.f. Fairchild shedding talent like influenza viruses, and spawning the semiconductor industry explosion. )

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge
        Pint

        > Fairchild

        Hm. Yeah, Musk has a lot of "asshole manager" in common with Shockley. Excellent point.

    3. rgjnk

      I guess the brands that signed up to use the Supercharger standard are relearning a lesson they should have already been well aware of.

      Guess some politics have been at play as there has been some very mixed messaging going on from the other brands and they were all deeply aware of who & what they were dealing with.

      1. toejam++

        Given that the Tesla charging standard is now in the hands of SAE, who is now tasked with its further development, the automakers and charging networks who adopted the SAE J3400 standard will be fine in the end.

        Also, before worrying about the state of Tesla's own charging network, we may want to wait to see if Tesla soon announces the grand opening of a new division based in China that picks up where the axed division left off.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Perhaps the Unit should have been transferred to the SAE and ran as an industry (not for profit?) cooperative.

          I know …., Commie talk.

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Either he's decided the rollout is good enough where it is and all he's going to do is collect rent from non-Tesla cars, outsource network management to a Chinese company, or abandon EVs altogether (he's fired the team designing new cars).

          But just because other carmakers have decided to adopt NACS it doesn't mean everything's fine... Musk could decide to collect rent while letting Tesla's network rot.

          It strikes me as strange that he's decided to stop rolling out even though subsidies are still available to do that.

    4. Cliffwilliams44 Silver badge

      Sales of EVs have hit the peak. All the hipsters have theirs and anyone who wanted one because of commuting costs has one or is no longer commuting (WFH).

      The major US auto makers are bleeding profits on EVs. They ramped up production hoping for a buying boom based on rhetoric from the regime, it was all wishful thinking. Now they have lots full of expensive EVs no one wants! Look what happened to Hertz. They are selling off their EV fleet and significant loses.

      The EV is an answer to a problem that doesn't exist! The infrastructure isn't there to support them and where it is it is terribly unreliable. Long distance trip in an EV? Yeah, good luck with that!

      The only way to drive people to EVs is to artificially drive-up gas prices. Good luck to any politician with that as their policy!

      Musk had a good run, selling expensive toy cars to stupid hipsters! Reality is setting in!

      1. mantavani
        Coat

        Context

        Here on planet Earth, sales of ICE cars peaked in 2018, and globally BEV and PHEV sales are more than healthy with EVs accounting for around 1 in 5 cars sold. In the US alone, to the end of 2023 the market grew by just under 52% compared to the previous year.

        The challenge for US and European car makers is indeed their profit margins, but in the sense that the sunk costs in their ICE programs mean easy money in the short term. They make plenty on EV sales, just not quite so much, however they also know that if they don’t pull their fingers out they’ll have their long term market share lunch eaten by the Chinese. That’s why the US administration is talking of 100% import tarifs. In the domestic Chinese market, most EVs are currently cheaper than their ICE counterparts.

        The Hertz sell-off was as much about pie-eyed provisioning and more importantly serious management issues with the Tesla fleet (that lack of model-year consistency really bit them hard), and even then only represents less than half of the overall Hertz EV fleet, which was previously 80% Tesla. Their stated aim is to continue, perhaps slightly more cautiously, with other brands.

        Your infrastructure issue is going to be heavily dependent on where you live and what you think a long journey is of course, but around these parts that hasn’t really been the case since the early adopter wilderness c. 2016 (I take my hat off to those of you who have been doing it longer than that). We didn’t start off with gas stations on every corner either.

        Sources:

        https://www.spglobal.com/mobility/en/research-analysis/us-ev-sales-grew-nearly-52-in-2023.html

        https://ourworldindata.org/electric-car-sales

        https://electrek.co/2024/04/22/global-ev-sales-are-robust-more-than-1-in-5-cars-sold-in-2024-will-be-electric/

        https://www.motortrend.com/news/hertz-ev-fleet-sale-tesla-report/

  5. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    New old ideas

    Wonder where he got the idea

    The justification for the gutting of teams whose work seems central to [Twitter's]Tesla's current...

  6. trevorde Silver badge

    Strategy has worked so well at Xitter

    Fire loads of staff, especially those who disagree with you. Flaut all laws & regulations. Speak your mind, even when you shouldn't. Ignore share price, board & investors - what do they know anyway?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Strategy has worked so well at Xitter

      Yup. Looks like Musk is starting to apply his "success" at Xitter to Tesla.

      So, another bonfire has started. I'll get the popcorn . . .

    2. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Strategy has worked so well at Xitter

      "Flaut all laws & regulations."

      "Flout" means to defy.

      "Flaunt" means to show off.

      A "flauta" is delicious, albeit unhealthy, Mexican food.

      1. aerogems Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Strategy has worked so well at Xitter

        What about flatus?*

        * Happy coincidence with the story headline^

        ^ Really, I only noticed it as I was about to hit submit

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Strategy has worked so well at Xitter

        A Flautist plays the flute. Possibly while Rome burns.

        1. VicMortimer Silver badge

          Re: Strategy has worked so well at Xitter

          The elongated muskrat is more of a flatulist.

      3. John Miles

        Re: Strategy has worked so well at Xitter

        There maybe a case of both defying and showing off happening. As to the unhealthy - it's not healthy for a company to lose such key parts.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Strategy has worked so well at Xitter

      When you have quality “didn’t see anything, didn’t hear anything, don’t know anything… I’m just the lowly Chairman and CEO” scum like James ‘Fox’ Murdoch on your board.

      https://ir.tesla.com/corporate/james-murdoch

      Member of the Nominating and Governance Committee

      Member of the Audit Committee

      Member of the Disclosure Controls Committee

      ……

      https://amp.theguardian.com/media/2012/nov/30/leveson-james-murdoch-evidence-phone-hacking

      Same corporate weasel behaviour as his father Rupert.

  7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    any staff who "don't obviously pass the excellent, necessary and trustworthy test,"

    Now who could fail that tst, I wonder.

    1. MMlvx

      can't... breathe... laugihing... too hard...

    2. Bebu Silver badge
      Windows

      Excellent, necessary and trustworthy test.

      any staff who "don't obviously pass the excellent, necessary and trustworthy test"

      Now who could fail that t[e]st, I wonder?》

      Apart from our John Lumic clone, anyone still on the payroll, sane enough not to take up the offer of a new metal suit. ;)

      So probably not as many as you might have thought or hoped.

      Actually as it is a conjunctive test quite generally very few would pass as being all of excellent and necessary and trustworthy - certainly no legislature on this planet, few of whose members, like Musk, would get a tick even if it were a disjunctive form.

  8. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Trust Thermocline

    Tesla must be getting close to the trust thermocline

    1. 42656e4d203239 Silver badge

      Re: Trust Thermocline

      Have an upvote - Nice idea, though I wince at bending the term "thermocline" to represent a consumer's trust in a service/product. I am sure catastrophe mathematics has a term for the point of no return in a catastrophic system; I am as sure that a fellow commentard will know it.

      What we need is an El Reg unit of trust - something that represents how much a commentard, in quantifiable steps, trusts something. Its easy to pick names for levels of trust (Truss, Cameron, Blair, Trump, Obama, Nixon, Washington, Macron, etc. relative levels can be the subject of another debate!) but to name the unit? hmmm - then we can have the <unit>ocline.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Trust Thermocline

        The Reg unit of trust should be the "soft". One soft is a million times as much as you'd trust Microsoft.

        1. 42656e4d203239 Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Trust Thermocline

          Icon. That is all.

      2. BartyFartsLast

        Re: Trust Thermocline

        The Truss is already a standard unit of time, for example, the recently resigned first minister of Scotland lasted approximately 8 Trusses in post.

        1. 42656e4d203239 Silver badge

          Re: Trust Thermocline

          >>The Truss is already a standard unit of time,

          Now that gies to show how much of a commentard I am not (even though I use the El Reg Standards coverter fairly frequently and, apparently, warrant a silver badge thingy)

          I do like the idea from a previous poster that the unit should be a Soft (so 1x10-6 of them is a microsoft) and so my suggestions (heads of state, obviously now excluding the Truss) of levels could be bands within that spectrum (A bit like infra red ---> gamma rays in the electromagnetic spectrum)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fire sale

    He’s going bust.

    I give him 2 years at best.

    1. CountCadaver Silver badge

      Re: Fire sale

      Nah they ALWAYS land on their feet....the workers get screwed, the "thought leaders" just get more money from investors and rinse /repeat

  10. Someone Else Silver badge

    Just goes to confirm...

    This just goes to confirm what most of us (excluding a vocal and oft deluded group of fanbois) always knew: that Musk is an immature, petulant little twat of a man-child, uniquely unsuited to running any sort of business for the long (or even medium) haul.

    cf. Carl Ichan

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What else would one expect from a CEO whose mind is drug-addled ?

    1. JamesTGrant

      Have followed with interest over the past few years (since PayPal) and I observe increasingly dramatic actions that seem to fit a pattern of someone becoming less stable over time. My guess would be heavy weed, booze and ketamine use, probably cocaine too. Weed, booze and coke wrecks people’s behaviours pretty quickly.

  12. CowHorseFrog Silver badge

    Who gives a shit, those two leaders are worthless anyway. Its not as if they actually have any skills except bullshit media statements.

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