Tesla is losing its director of “manufacturing quality” at its Fremont factory to Gibson Guitar Corporation this month.

J. Eric Purcell has been working at Tesla for almost seven years.

He held several positions including “director of manufacturing for body, stamping, and tool & die” at the Fremont, California, factory.

Most recently and for the past three years, Purcell was Tesla’s director of manufacturing quality.

Purcell updated his LinkedIn profile this week, confirming that he left Tesla earlier this month to join Gibson Guitar Corporation in Tennessee.

Tesla has been working to improve its manufacturing quality.

Jerome Guillen, Tesla’s president of automotive, commented about the situation during the most recent earnings call last month:

We’re trying to continue improving the quality of the cars — and track this daily and fewer and fewer service visits are required from the most recent cars that we’re building. So we’re on a good trend there. We also need a lot fewer work to finish the cars in the factory.

The executive’s departure appears to be part of an important shakeup in Tesla’s manufacturing leadership over the last few months.

A month ago, we reported that Peter Hochholdinger, Tesla’s head of production, left the company.

Hochholdinger’s departure came after two Tesla manufacturing executives left for a startup.

Charles Mwangi, former senior engineering director in charge of body manufacturing and stamping at Tesla, had been working at Tesla for over six years when he left earlier this year.

The other executive was Shen Jackson, Tesla’s director of manufacturing engineering.

With Purcell’s departure, that’s now four manufacturing executives to have left Tesla so far in 2019.

Update: changed to clarify that Purcell was the director of manufacturing quality.

Electrek’s Take

Tesla has had a lot of executive departures over the last few years, but it goes both ways.

Last year, the company also hired several new top executives, and it promoted several longtime execs in a top management restructuring in September.

Tesla hires a lot from the traditional automotive world and the tech industry, but lately, I have noticed a trend of Tesla executives with more automotive backgrounds leaving.

Purcell also had an extensive automotive background.

Tesla doesn’t comment on executive departures, so it’s not clear if it’s Tesla trying to move away from traditional auto leadership, or that Tesla’s culture is not ideal for people who are used to working for automakers.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.


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