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Factbox: Tesla executive departures since 2016

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Tesla Inc on Wednesday announced the departure of Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja, the latest senior executive to leave the company as it strives to ramp up electric car production and reach long-term profitability.


Here is a list of executive departures from Tesla since 2016:

2019

Jan. 30 – Outgoing Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja may continue to serve as a senior adviser to Tesla, Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said in a post earnings call.

2018

Nov. 27 – Jeff Jones, head of global security, is no longer working with Tesla Inc after just 11 months on the job, CNBC reported, citing one current and one former employee.

Oct. 17 – Gilbert Passin, vice president of manufacturing, has left, according to a Business Insider report. 

Sept. 20 – Liam O’Connor, vice president of global supply management resigned from the company, Bloomberg reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. 12- Justin McAnear, vice president of worldwide finance and operation, said he would be leaving Tesla to take a CFO role at another company.

Sept. 7 – Gabrielle Toledano, chief people officer at Tesla, leaves the company. 

Sept. 4 – Dave Morton, chief accounting officer at Tesla, resigns just a month after starting work, according to a company filing. 

July – Ganesh Srivats, vice president at Tesla leaves company to become chief executive officer at Moda Operandi Inc 

July – Doug Field, senior vice president of engineering, stepped down after five years with the electric carmaker.

June- Karim Bousta, vice-president of worldwide service and customer experience, left the company, automotive news website Electrek reported.

May- Cal Lankton stepped down as senior vice president of energy operations and will be replaced by Sanjay Shah from Amazon.com Inc, according to a Bloomberg report. 

May – Matthew Schwall, director of field performance engineering, exits to join Alphabet Inc’s self-driving unit, Waymo.

April – Georg Ell, director of Tesla’s Western Europe operations, leaves to head UK-based Smoothwall. 

March – Chief Accounting Officer Eric Branderiz exits after joining in October 2016.

March – Susan Repo, corporate treasurer and vice president of finance, exits to become chief financial officer at another company. 

February – Jon McNeill, president of global sales and services, leaves to join ride-hailing company Lyft as chief operating officer. 

January – Jason Mendez, director of manufacturing engineering, leaves after more than 12 years. 

January – Will McColl, manager of equipment engineering, leaves after seven years. 

2017

December – Erik Fogelberg, vice president of commercial sales, America, Tesla Energy left the company after 11 months. He joined as vice president of global sales for NEC Energy Solutions last month.

November – Jon Wagner, director of battery engineering, who joined in 2013 exits to launch a battery and powertrain startup in California.

September – Diarmuid O’Connell, vice president of business development, departs.

August – Marco Krapels, vice president of international expansion, solar & battery storage, left the company after six months and currently serves as the founder and chief executive officer of Micropower-Comerc, according to his LinkedIn profile. 

August – Kurt Kelty, director of battery technology and then one of the longest serving company executives, exits. He led negotiations with Panasonic on the company’s gigafactory in Nevada.

July – SolarCity co-founder Peter Rive leaves the company, eight months after Tesla bought the biggest U.S. residential solar panel maker.

June – Chris Lattner, vice president of autopilot leaves within six months of joining.

June – SolarCity founder Lyndon Rive leaves the electric vehicle maker. 

May – Arnnon Geshuri, who led HR at Tesla for more than eight years, departs.

Apple posts revenue drop but optimistic on China

April – Chief Financial Officer Jason Wheeler leaves to pursue public policy projects; replaced by Deepak Ahuja, who served as CFO before Wheeler. 

March – Mark Lipscomb, vice president of human resources, departs to join streaming service provider Netflix.

March – Satish Jeyachandran, director of hardware engineering, leaves after seven years with the company; later joins Waymo. 

March – David Nister, vice president of autopilot vision, departs to join chipmaker Nvidia.

March – Klaus Grohmann ousted after a clash with CEO Elon Musk over the strategy at Grohmann’s firm, which Tesla had acquired in November. Grohmann Engineering helped companies design highly automated factories. 

January – JLM Energy says Ardes Johnson, who worked as director of sales at Tesla Energy, joins as a vice president. 

January – Sterling Anderson, head of Tesla’s autopilot system, leaves company. Tesla sued him for trying to recruit company engineers for his new venture while still with Tesla, and in April withdrew the lawsuit after a settlement.

2016

December – Mateo Jaramillo, vice president of Tesla Energy, leaves after seven years.

July – Rich Heley, vice president of product technology, departs to join Facebook.

May – Josh Ensign, vice president of manufacturing, leaves; joins startup Proterra as chief operating officer. 

May – Greg Reichow, vice president of production, leaves as the company prepares to launch Model 3, and sharply ramp up production.

April – James Chen, vice president of regulatory affairs and deputy general counsel, leaves to join rival Faraday Future. 

March – Ricardo Reyes, vice president of global communications, leaves. b

March – Michael Zanoni, vice president of finance and worldwide controller, departs to join Amazon. 

January – Chief Information Officer Jay Vijayan leaves Tesla to create his own startup. -Reuters

Sanjana Shivdas and Arjun Panchadar

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Pioneer For Women In Construction Thandi Ndlovu has died

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The cover of the August (Women’s Month) edition of Forbes Africa beautifully captures the essence of the woman I interviewed only a few weeks ago. Gracious, soft-spoken, brimming with life and energy. Dr Thandi Ndlovu impressed the entire Forbes crew on that afternoon cover shoot with her broad smile, and open yet powerful demeanor.

It is with great sadness that Forbes Africa heard of the accident that took her life on Saturday the 24 August 2019.

READ MORE |COVER: Feisty And Fearless Pioneers Thandi Ndlovu & Nonkululeko Gobodo

She had given so much to South Africa and its people – through the apartheid years and during the 25 years of democracy, literally building a better future, first through her medical practice at Orange Farm and then through her company, Motheo Construction Group and the scholarships for tertiary education granted by her Motheo Children’s Foundation.

That sunny winter’s afternoon, I asked her if she, at the age of 65, was considering retirement, and she laughed. A lively, amiable laugh. She told me she was healthy and strong and easily worked 12 to 13 hour days.

READ MORE | WATCH | Making Of The Women’s Month Cover: Thandi Ndlovu & Nonkululeko Gobodo

She loved hiking, and has climbed Kilimanjaro twice, reached the base camps of Mount Everest and Annapurna in Nepal. At the time of the interview, she was training to climb Machu Picchu, the famed ruins in Peru’s mountains.

One of her biggest passions was to make a difference in people’s lives and to motivate people to achieve the best they could. The other was to redress the racial tensions that still remained in South Africa.

Dr Thandi Ndlovu, South Africa is poorer for your passing.

-Jill De Villiers

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Facebook Joins Other Tech Giants In Employing Journalists To Curate News

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Facebook is hiring a small team of journalists to help curate breaking news and repair its strained relationship with news publishers, the social media giant announced Tuesday.

The company says it will employ journalists to select breaking news and top stories that will appear in its soon-to-be-launched feature called News Tab, rather than using algorithms to determine what is shared with its vast network of users.

With the move, Facebook is part of a growing trend in the tech industry. Apple, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat have all employed journalists to help their companies sort through the news and cozy up to news organizations.

READ MORE | Facebook Recommits To A More Personalized Dating App, Your Privacy

Apple, for example, has used some form of human curation since its subscription Apple News app launched in 2015. In June 2017, the company hired former New York magazine executive editor Lauren Kern as the app’s editor-in-chief. Twitter has also employed some form of human news curation since 2015. 

Even with a team of in-house journalists, companies like Twitter continue to struggle in the fight against misinformation. On Monday, Twitter announcedit will no longer accept advertising from state-controlled media, in large part as a response to the discovery that China ran a misinformation campaign to combat Hong Kong protesters.

Facebook, facing similar scrutiny for the same Chinese misinformation campaign, said that employing journalists will help “surface more high quality news.”

“Our goal with the News tab is to provide a personalized, highly relevant experience for people,” Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of news partnerships said in a statement sent to Forbes. “The majority of stories people will see will appear in the tab via algorithmic selection. To start, for the Top News section of the tab we’re pulling together a small team of journalists to ensure we’re highlighting the right stories.”

READ MORE | Google, Facebook, Twitter Fail To Live Up To Fake News Pledge

Facebook says the team will take into account user controls, pages and publisher as well as the news that users interact with or share, and other unnamed signals from its vast network to personalize content. 

The company has been under pressure to mitigate its misinformation problem since it was revealed in 2016 that Russian operatives carried out a misinformation campaign in a “sweeping and systematic fashion” on the network, as it was described by special counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The Mueller Report found that Russia spent $1.25 million per month on digital advertisements in an effort to sow discord in the U.S. and influence the presidential election. On Monday, Facebook came under fire for taking money from China to spread disinformation about Hong Kong protests.

The social media giant remains an important part of many Americans lives, much more than its rivals Twitter and Snapchat. According to Pew Research, about 69% of American adults use Facebook, and of those who use it, about 74% visit the site once a day. By comparison, only one in five U.S. adults (22%) use Twitter.

According to a survey conducted in 2018, about four in ten (43%) U.S. adults get at least some news from Facebook.

READ MORE | How To Use Twitter To  Boost Your Business

In January 2017, Facebook hired Campbell Brown, a former television news anchor, to lead its news partnerships team. She remains a key figure in easing the tension between large national news outlets—those who have historically provided an endless trove of free content for the social media giant—and the company.

Publishing executives have slammed Facebook for siphoning advertising revenue away from traditional news publishers while also demanding that those same companies provide content for free. Following years of backlash, the social media company is now trying to work with publishers to create a more even relationship.

Facebook’s news partnership program involves deals that are potentially worth millions of dollars. The Wall Street Journal reports that several news outlets including the Washington Post, Bloomberg, Dow Jones, and the New York Times have discussed receiving as much as $3 million per year to license news content.

The News Tab, which has not been publicly viewed, is being positioned in stark contrast to the company’s Trending Topics news section, which shut down in 2016 following increasing pressure from users.

In 2016, the tech website Gizmodo published an article alleging contractors hired to curate the now-defunct Trending Topics feed were actively suppressing conservative news stories. In a letter to Congress, Facebook said, “We could not reconstruct reliable data logs from before December 2014, so were unable to examine each of the reviewer decisions from that period,” thus suggesting that it may have very well suppressed conservative news when the tool first launched.

-Michael Nuñez; Forbes

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Walmart Sues Tesla Over Solar Panels That Allegedly Caught Fire

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Topline: Walmart is alleging in a lawsuit that Tesla solar panels caused fires on the roofs of seven Walmart stores, and is accusing Tesla of breach of contract, gross negligence and failure to comply with industry standards. 

  • Walmart claims that Tesla installed faulty solar panels that eventually spontaneously combusted and caught fire at seven Walmart stores around the country.
  • The lawsuit alleges that Tesla inspectors didn’t notice defects that were visible to the naked eye, used cable connectors that weren’t compatible with one another and failed to see that loose and hanging wires were present at multiple sites.

READ MORE | Jeff Bezos And Elon Musk Want To Get To The Moon—They Just Disagree On How To Get There

  • Walmart says in the lawsuit it believes the failures were the result of rushed installation because Tesla’s solar division “adopted an ill-considered business model that required it to install solar panel systems haphazardly and as quickly as possible in order to turn a profit, and the contractors and subcontractors who performed the original installation work had not been properly hired, trained, and supervised.”

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes.

Key Background: Tesla got into the solar business after it acquired SolarCity in 2016 for $2.6 billion. But production of its residential solar panels under Tesla has been mired with delays and plunging sales. 

Just this week, CEO Elon Musk announced a revamped pricing plan in an effort to boost the slowing business. The new pricing model allows residents in six states to rent solar power systems starting at $50 a month ($65 a month in California) instead of buying them up front.

Further Reading: Read the full lawsuit here.

-Rachel Sandler, Forbes


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