Tesla’s Senior VP of engineering, Doug Field, who has been leading vehicle engineering at the automaker, is taking a leave of absence for an undisclosed period of time.
The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal and confirmed by Tesla.
A Tesla spokesman said in a statement:
“Doug is just taking some time off to recharge and spend time with his family. He has not left Tesla.”
Field has been a long time engineering executive with high profile stints at Segway and Apple before joining Tesla in 2013. A year later, he was giving Electrek’s Seth Weintraub a test drive in Tesla Model S P85D.
He has taken an increasingly important role at Tesla over the years and most recently, he was in charge of vehicle engineering at Tesla, but he was also put in charge of the Model 3 production before Elon Musk took over the responsibilities of the production program earlier this year.
At the time, Musk commented about stripping Field of the responsibilities of Model 3 production:
“Doug, who I regard as one of the world’s most talented engineering execs, is focused on vehicle engineering.”
But now it sounds like he won’t be going back to his duties in vehicle engineering just yet as he is taking a leave of absence.
Even though Tesla says that it is only a leave of absence, the news is sure to create some concerns in the context of several other executives leaving Tesla in the last few months, including Jim Keller, VP of Autopilot, last week, Matthew Renna, Tesla’s Model S and Model X program manager, Jason Mendez, senior director for manufacturing engineering, and Will McColl, senior manager for equipment engineering.
But I think it’s more reminiscent of when Jerome Guillen took a leave of absence of his own.
It was actually then that Field was promoted to SVP and became officially a company officer at Tesla.
After less than a year, Guillen ended up coming back at Tesla in a big way by leading the Tesla Semi program, which has so far been quite impressive.
It’s why I wouldn’t be too worried about Field taking a leave of absence. The pace at Tesla is quite insane and like Guillen, Field is apparently important enough that he can take a leave and come back to his job. He could come back reenergize and more productive.
Of course, we are just speculating here. What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.