Electrek learned that Tesla’s Chief Information Officer Jay Vijayan quietly left the automaker during the last quarter to create a startup in stealth mode. Tesla Vice-President of Information Technology, Ganesh V. Iyer, is taking over Vijayan’s responsibilities as acting CIO and he will report directly to CEO Elon Musk, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Tesla had a relatively stable C-level executive team since Elon Musk took over as CEO in 2009, but it now adds up to two C-level changes in just a few months with Vijayan’s departure from the company and Tesla’s long-time CFO Deepak Ahuja announcing his retirement late last year.
Two Vice-Presidents also left the automaker last month: VP of Finance and Worldwide Controller Michael Zanoni and Tesla’s Vice President of Global Communications Ricardo Reyes.
Jay Vijayan was an important member of Tesla’s IT team and he was credited with creating the automaker’s ERP system, called Warp (like Warp Drive), which became central to the company’s operations and unique business model. Vijayan reportedly built and implemented the system in just 4 months with a small team of 25 software engineers.
It was built around three main factors differentiating Tesla from other automakers: selling cars online, servicing its own cars and frequent over-the-air updates. The Warp system allows Tesla to create a short feedback loop to engineers and quickly push updates back to customers. It manages everything from the ordering processing to the manufacturing workflow and supply chain management.
Vijayan discussed what pushed them to develop Warp during an interview with CIO Insight in 2014:
“Elon’s vision is to build a vertically integrated organization where information flow happens seamlessly across departments and where we have a closed feedback loop to our customers. By doing this, we can provide the best possible product, service and overall experience to our customers in the fastest way possible, while also operating efficiently as a business.
To bring this vision to life, we had to have simple and central business operations software that could connect all departments and enable information flow seamlessly across departments. Again, we couldn’t find one software program in the market that satisfied this need.”
The IT executive held several engineering and management positions at Oracle and VMware before joining Tesla as VP of IT and Business Applications in 2012 and being quickly promoted to CIO.
Here’s a keynote address he gave last year about Internet of Things:
We don’t know much about the mysterious startup Vijayan is launching, but coincidently (or not), it was reported last week that he led a seed investment round in FixNix, a startup building a SaaS-based Governance, Risk and Compliance platform for enterprises.
While Warp was essential to Tesla’s transition from a niche automaker with the Roadster to a higher volume manufacturer with the Model S and now the Model X, it was revealed last year that the automaker is now implementing a new custom end-to-end platform called ‘Tesla 3DX’ to ramp up for the Model 3 and Tesla Energy.