Tesla Motors Inc not only stands the risk of losing future market share to rival Faraday Future, but also its employees. The Chinese-backed electric car startup has just poached Tesla’s head of government relations. On Monday, Faraday Future took to Twitter to announce that it hired James Chen as the Vice President of Government Relations and General Counsel, says a report from Fortune.
A negative trend for Tesla
Until recently, Chen was serving Tesla as its VP of Government Relations and Deputy General Counsel. Tesla’s General Counsel is Todd Maron at present.
Tesla alumni are increasingly heading over to Faraday Future, and Chen too has become a part of the trend. Faraday Future’s current senior vice president of research and development and engineering – Nick Sampson – has formerly served Tesla as the director of vehicle and chassis.
Tesla Motors Inc has lost several top-tier executives in recent months that include Chen, Josh Ensign (VP of manufacturing), Ricardo Reyes (VP of global communications), and Greg Reichow (VP of production). Just last week, Tesla filled the vehicle production position with longtime Audi executive Peter Hochholdinger.
Peter will be assigned the responsibility of scaling up the production of the Model X and the new version of the Model S as well. He will also handle the production of Tesla’s upcoming mass-market car the Model 3.
Why is Chen joining FF?
The Global supply chain, human resources and manufacturing divisions at Faraday Future are staffed with former Tesla employees. Most of them left Tesla for other companies before they joined Faraday Future. Faraday Future’s approach to electric cars is the motivation behind Chen joining it, and not because of any problems with Tesla.
Chen wrote in an email, “The vision of Faraday Future involves leveraging the electric vehicle platform in new ways that would appeal to a broad audience. I was attracted by the prospect of being part of a leadership team that wanted to make that vision a reality.”
Chen noted that the decision had nothing to do with Tesla versus FF. Rather, it was about how a new entrant could leverage the many benefits that electric drive technology had to offer, and move it more rapidly into the market.
Filling Chen’s position will be very much important for Tesla Motors Inc as the automaker is facing off against dealerships and GM-backed lobbying efforts in many states, to keep it from selling its electric cars directly to the customers.
Faraday Future is building a factory in North Las Vegas for which it is hiring employees. This factory is spread over three million-square-foot area, and is located at the Apex Industrial Park on a 900-acre parcel. Earlier this month, the firm held a groundbreaking ceremony at the site, and said to invest $1 billion in the project. Also, it will be hiring 4,500 people over a 10-year period in accordance with a $215m tax incentives agreement signed with the Nevada lawmakers.
In pre-market trading today, Tesla shares were in green. Year to date, the stock is down almost 13% while in the last one-year, it is down over 16%. The stock has a 52-week low of $141.05 and a 52-week high of $286.65.