Tesla shares fall amid exec changes; Musk turns to hackathon to combat production woes

Tesla shares ended the US Friday session in the red amid news that its chief engineer has taken a leave of absence, another senior executive has left for Waymo and a shareholder urges major changes to the board.

Tesla shares fall amid exec changes; Musk turns to hackathon to combat production woes

Tesla shares closed lower in the US Friday, as news emerged that not only has the car maker’s chief engineer taken a leave of absence, but a senior executive has also left the firm for rival Waymo.

Separately from those moves, CEO Elon Musk has organised a hackathon to help resolve the production bottleneck that’s continuing to affect the automated process and limit the level of output.

Tesla shares ended the US Friday session 1.30% lower at $301.06. However, the stock is trading a little higher in out-of-hours activity.

Tesla executive news

It has emerged that Tesla’s chief engineer Doug Field is said to be taking a six-week sabbatical from his role, even as the US safety regulators investigate a number of crashes involving the electric cars.

Field, Tesla’s Vice President of engineering, is taking a break from the electric car maker, although the firm didn’t confirm how long he would be away.

“Doug is just taking some time off to recharge and spend time with his family,” Tesla said in a statement. “He has not left Tesla.”

In addition to that news, Matthew Schwall, director of field performance at Tesla and also the firm’s main contact with the US safety regulators, has left his role at Musk’s business and has taken a new position at Waymo, Google’s self-driving car project.

And, a letter from one shareholder, CtW Investment group, encouraged other shareholders to vote out certain board members at the up-coming AGM in June.

The letter is headed: “Please vote on June 5, 2018 AGAINST the Re-election of directors Antonio J. Gracias, Kimball Musk, and James R. Murdoch.”

Hackathon could help production problems

Separately from the top executive and board-related developments, is the news that CEO Musk has turned to a hackathon to discover workable options to end the bottlenecks that are continuing to slow production of the Model 3.

Responding to criticism over Tesla’s production methods, Musk tweeted Sunday: “Fair criticism, but we’re fixing it fast. Hackathon going on right now to fix 2 worst robot production chokepoints. Looks promising.”

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