Top Tesla Exec Resigns And Sends Musk A Message: The Company Has 'taken Its Pound Of Flesh' | Old North State Wealth News
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Top Tesla exec resigns and sends Musk a message: The company has ‘taken its pound of flesh’

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Tesla’s head of product launches Rich Otto resigned from the Elon Musk-led electric vehicle maker last week—and he signed off by criticizing the sweeping layoffs Musk announced at the $547 billion EV manufacturer just weeks ago, saying they’re “rocking the company and its morale.”

“Great companies are made up of equal parts great people and great products, and the latter are only possible when its people are thriving,” Otto wrote in a farewell post on LinkedIn Wednesday. The job cuts and subsequent culture hit “have thrown this harmony out of balance and it’s hard to see the long-game. It was time for a change.”

“It’s a company I love and that has given me so much, but has also taken its pound of flesh,” he said.

Otto was a seven-year veteran at the company and had his hands in Cybertruck events and other launches. His departure is the latest in a series of executive exits that have rattled investors amid Tesla’s significant downturn. Musk fired the entire Tesla Supercharger team, including his highest-ranking female executive, at the end of April. Just days later, Tesla’s top human resources executive, Allie Arebalo, left the company. Meanwhile, at a crucial earnings call last month, the longtime vice president of investor relations, Martin Viecha, announced at the end of the call that he was leaving Tesla. Viecha’s exit came soon after senior vice president Drew Baglino resigned and cashed out a $181 million stake in the company. Baglino had been with Tesla for 18 years and was a stalwart among investors and analysts. Rohan Patel, the company’s vice president of public policy and business development, parted ways at the same time as Baglino.

Even Tesla’s summer internship program wasn’t spared. The carmaker rescinded offers to interns just before they were supposed to start, prompting Tesla employees to implore other companies to take advantage of its bloodletting. Meanwhile, this week Tesla slashed thousands of job listings in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and Puerto Rico, leaving only three job ads remaining.

Amid the job cuts, investigators with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are probing whether an online software update to address issues with Tesla’s partially automated driving system fully addressed problems with the technology. Tesla reported 20 crashes since the fix went out to users. At the same time, Musk has been touting its full-self driving system to investors, claiming that it is better than people think it is and that fleets of Teslas will be fully autonomous and can be used to ferry around customers when they’re not in use by owners.

All the while, Musk and the company’s board are focused on reinstating his pay plan now worth $45 billion—the largest-ever pay plan for a CEO—after a judge rescinded it earlier this year. 

Otto wished everyone who got laid off well in his post. “I’m hopeful that Tesla — and all of the employees affected by these layoffs — can get back on their feet soon. If there’s anything I can do to help, don’t hesitate to reach out.” 

He noted he won’t be missing the company’s coffee. What he will miss, however, are the people.

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