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Transportation Businesses

Tesla's Engineering Chief Takes Leave of Absence (wsj.com) 57

Tesla's senior vice president of engineering, Doug Field, is taking a leave of absence from the company (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source) at a crucial moment when the electric-car maker is struggling to boost production of the Model 3 sedan. While Tesla declined to say when he would come back, one person familiar with the matter described the absence as a "six-week sabbatical." The Wall Street Journal reports: Mr. Field has been a key leader at Silicon Valley auto maker since joining in 2013 from Apple. He oversees the engineering of Tesla's vehicles, and last year he was also given oversight of production to better align the two efforts. That changed this spring when Chief Executive Elon Musk acknowledge he retook control of production. The Silicon Valley auto maker is at a critical juncture as it tries to produce enough Model 3 cars to generate cash to fund the business and instill confidence in investors the company can create its first mass-market vehicle.

Tesla has a history of key executives departing on so-called sabbaticals. Jerome Guillen, Tesla's current vice president of truck and programs, for example, took a sabbatical in 2015 from his role as vice president of worldwide sales and service only to return in the new role. He had led development of the Model S sedan. The hiring of Mr. Field from Apple, where he was vice president of Mac hardware engineering, was touted as a win for Mr. Musk who had big ambitions for the electric-car company. Mr. Field had also worked at Ford and Segway, giving him unique experience in both the tech and autos industry.

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Tesla's Engineering Chief Takes Leave of Absence

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  • He's European (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Saturday May 12, 2018 @05:25PM (#56601702)

    "six-week sabbatical" is called 'usual summer vacation' over there.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      That's nothing compared to my Canadian fifty-two-weeks sabbati... oh wait, I got no job.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      "six-week sabbatical" is called 'usual summer vacation' over there.

      Yeah, been there done that though it took all my vacation for the year plus a transfer week from the previous year. Through flexible hours I could get a few more days off for Easter and Christmas though, but they're all worked in. In should be noted that it's not *that* big a deal though, because everyone else is on vacation too! Here in Norway the country more or less shuts down in July, in an office of 50+ people you'd be lucky to find five mid-July. The obviously reason is that for most of the year this

      • A similar thing happens in the US, but confined to the last two weeks of the Calendar year.

        I happen to work primarily with customers located in Asia, and absurdly aggressive requests tend to arrive at that time of year, as they know senior management is out of the office. Not only are the junior employees more easily cowed, they are also reticent to contact vacationing employees.
    • Should get a "funny" mod, not "insightful"; six-week vacations are a thing of the past in Europe...nobody has the time, or the cash

  • The hiring of Mr. Field from Apple, where he was vice president of Mac hardware engineering

    Everything went downhill since 2014... is Elon Musk to blame for the lack of useful Mac updates?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 12, 2018 @06:05PM (#56601822)

    If he can't leave for six weeks then he's failed at his most important job as a division head, staffing with competent staff that you direct. He's either confident the ship has been righted and taking a break or he's throwing in the towel and the sabbatical is just so Mr. Musk doesn't get suspicious why he's taking long lunches and wearing suits to work.

    • Or he's selling some stock and he thinks he'll trigger less of a fall by calling "hey, let's play lifeboat drill" rather than "abandon ship OMFG torpeedarzzzzz!".

    • When I lead or train, I intentionally make myself unavailable for swaths at a time, while some sort of safety net is still in place.

      This gives people confidence to work alone and attack issues without direction, when I'm really not around to help.
  • Do you people how many executives, in ICE automotive manufacturing take 6 week sabbaticals? Iâ(TM)m telling you itâ(TM)s millions! Just because one executive at Tesla is taking a sabbatical, we have to hear about it as a world event. Move along, nothing to see here.

  • Surprised that they even had an engineering chief.

  • I work in the good old US of A for a large techy corporation and my employer gives its employees an 8 week sabbatical every 7 years. It sound like the subject of TFA is taking his.

     

  • by fozzy1015 ( 264592 ) on Sunday May 13, 2018 @12:13AM (#56602532)
    Matthew Schwall, director of field performance engineering, has left Tesla to go work for Waymo. He was the contact point for safety regulators. A role that has perhaps more stressful given the multiple investigations going on regarding accidents. Petty soon it'll just be Musk and his cyber dragon.
  • New Willy? (Score:4, Funny)

    by AndyKron ( 937105 ) on Sunday May 13, 2018 @04:48AM (#56603004)
    Free Doug Field! Run Doug run!

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.

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