While there has been a lot of focus on Tesla executives leaving the automaker in the past few months, Tesla announced a small flurry of new hires at the vice-president and director levels today.
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The company listed the new hires, which came from Apple, Amazon and other companies, in a new blog post released this afternoon:
- Stuart Bowers is joining as VP of Engineering, responsible for a broad range of Tesla’s software and hardware engineering. Stuart has 12 years of software experience and a background in applied mathematics, and is joining Tesla from Snap. There, he was most recently VP of Monetization Engineering, leading the team with a focus on machine learning and ad infrastructure. Prior to Snap, Stuart was the eighth engineer hired at Facebook’s Seattle office where he worked on data infrastructure and machine learning for search.
- Neeraj Manrao has joined Tesla as Director of Energy Manufacturing. Neeraj comes from Apple, where he led the technical operations team.
- Kevin Mukai has started as Director of Production Engineering at Gigafactory. Kevin was most recently at ThinFilm Electronics, where he served as Senior Director of Process Engineering, and before that at SunPower as Director of Process & Equipment Engineering. Kevin has extensive experience in advanced factory design and development.
- James Zhou started last month as CFO, China. James previously served as CFO for Asia Pacific and India for Ingersoll Rand, and prior to that held a number of financial leadership positions at General Electric and General Motors.
- Alexandra Veitch joined last month as Senior Director for North American Government Relations and Policy. Alexandra comes to Tesla from CSRA. Before that, she served as Special Assistant to the President and Legislative Affairs Liaison in the White House under the Obama Administration. Her government service also includes time at the Department of Homeland Security and as a staff member in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
- Kate Pearson is our new Director of Field Delivery Operations. She previously worked as VP of Digital Acceleration at Walmart eCommerce, where she led online grocery and last-mile delivery.
- Mark Mastandrea started earlier this month as Director, Vehicle Delivery Operations. He comes from Amazon, where he was their Director of Logistics Operations, leading last-mile delivery in North America and working on the design and development of AmazonFresh pickup.
- Myriam Attou recently started as Regional Sales Director in EMEA. Coming from La Perla, and before that Burberry, she has a long track record of delivering strong results in sales, customer experience and service excellence.
Tesla rarely announces new hires unless they are really high-profile – like c-level executives.
For example, the company didn’t announce the hiring of Jim Keller, which Electrek had to reveal.
But today’s announcement seems to be in response to critics often framing departures at Tesla as representative of a high turnover rate, which has so far not been proven.
There are certainly a few departments within Tesla that had significant turnover, for example, Tesla’s Autopilot leadership had several changes over the past 2 years.
But as for the broader company, it employs over 100 vice-president and director-level employees and while about 2 dozen have left over the last few years, many have been around for much longer than the average turnaround in silicon valley.
I think it’s something worth keeping an eye on because Tesla needs to retain top talent, but I think it’s also something that has been blown out of proportion by Tesla naysayers.