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Late Friday evening, Tesla Motors issued a brief statement that company founder Martin Eberhard was transitioning from his management role as President to the company's advisory board. This announcement came barely a day after the announcement that Ze'ev Drori had been tapped to be the new CEO, taking the reins from interim boss Michael Marks. Drori is now also taking up Eberhard's title as President.
After the announcement it became clear that Eberhard did not relinquish his duties voluntarily. He is no longer even on the board of directors and the advisory board gig is at best ceremonial. The company isn't saying much, but in a posting on the Tesla Motors Club message board, Eberhard made it clear that it wasn't his choice to leave the company. A number of executives have apparently left the company in recent months as engineers have struggled to overcome transmission problems that have delayed the production launch of the Roadster. At the same time that they are trying to get their electric sports car into production, engineers are trying to finalize the specifications of their next product: the "WhiteStar" sedan.

While people are moving in and out of offices in San Carlos, Tesla is planning to have its first media drives with the print publications this week, while us on-line types will have to wait a few more weeks for our turn at the wheel.

[Source: Tesla Motors, Tesla Motors Club, via AutoblogGreen]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      wow, wonder if he still gets a check?
      • 7 Years Ago
      I have stated this in the "green" forum, but will repeat it here. The irony in this instance is absolutely appalling! It is so thick you could cut it with a knife. The company was named to (finally) honor Nikola Tesla, the true, unsung hero of electric innovation --who was similarly shafted by the same sort of corporate mentality! You'll have to forgive me, but from this point forward I will refer to the company as "Edison Motors." Our species hasn't learned a blessed thing from its past.
      • 7 Years Ago
      While it's unfortunate that one of the minds that got this off the ground is now being forced out, we shouldn't be surprised if there is more turmoil to come from Tesla.

      The car industry is probably one of the most inaccessible industries in the US. And starting a manufacturer from scratch to build a series production car is a monumental undertaking for even a large company. All the engineering and expense required to meet regulations is tough enough never mind engineering a car that will work as advertised and preparing for possible future litigation for the guy that gets electrocuted trying to jump start their friends Kia with the 1.21 "jigawatts" of battery juice available in the Tesla.

      It doesn't matter how deep the pockets are of the people funding the company, making a car company successful is the trick. And as we've seen from GM and Ford throwing massive amounts of money at "losing" cars, we know money does not = success.

      The British seem to be far more successful than us at having a cottage car industry. Ever heard of the TVR, Noble, Morgan, Lotus, Ascari etc. I don't know what the reason is but I would imagine that they aren't buried in government regulation and/or they have car building in their dna. Whatever the reason, they sure seem to have more niche supercars.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's all a scheme by the evil oil companies, George Bush and GM to kill the electric car!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Not a good look for Tesla.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I feel that this may have been a little blown out of proportion. As I said before, it completely sucks when the founder of a company is fired, but I doubt it will do much to slow process in completing the Tesla roadster. The biggest snag they hit was the transmission and if they can get over that they can start building some cars. However, if this firing makes some headlines it will be lots of negative PR that might pull this company down.
      • 7 Years Ago
      does anybody wants to buy this car from a company that looks so weak?

      im sorry but if i had the 90k to buy this car i woulnt buy it. no matter how great the car is what warrantees me that next month they will still be in business? if they dont i will be left with a useless 90k car!!!

      before they show me how great their car is, show me that you have a strong company going on. specially when you are not known by anyone!

      i have a feeling they will be gone before a telsa touches the pavement.

      a great idea doomed by corporate politics
      • 7 Years Ago
      Or maybe, just maybe, Eberhard was doing a bad job and needed to go.

      I really can't buy these suggestions that "the money men" forced him out. Tesla is already owned by some of the biggest "money men" in the world. Elon Musk and Sergy Brin are worth billions and billions of dollars, both have been in from almost the start.

      My guess is that Eberhard had become a problem. Maybe he was married to some unattainable goal and refused to listen to reason? Maybe he had a personal problem? Or maybe he had grown into a bad manager and angering valued employees?

      We may never know the full truth, but I very much doubt that he was pushed out by the money men. I simply can't imagine Elon Musk and Sergy Brin pushing him out for money. There HAD to be somthing else, probably something directly related to Eberhard's performance.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I'm not sure how the idea of "money men" forcing him out and him needing to go are in conflict? If he needs to go, who's going to be the ones to get rid of him? The ones with the biggest stake, the "money men".

        I'm convinced that it was the money men who put him out. But I don't attach anything else to that. They did it, why is an open question.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Of course the majority shareholders fired him. They are the only people who COULD fire someone his his position.

        By calling them "money men" and saying they "forced him out", you paint this in the most negative way possible. It brings to mind occasions when founders have been ousted merely to disenfranchise them of their ownership.

        Maybe that did happen, but I doubt it. I don't think multi-billionaire majority shareholders fired Eberhard in order to steal ownership from him.

        It's been obvious for some months that the majority shareholders of Tesla had lost confidence in Eberhard's management of the company. Things now seem to have reached a breaking point. Eberhard had been pushed aside some months ago, but only recently has the new CEO officially taken over.

        CEO's are typically strong personalities. This is why a sacked CEO almost always leaves a company when a new CEO comes in. The last thing a new CEO needs is his predecessor questioning his every move or poisoning him within the workforce. I'm not saying Eberhard did any of this. But it shouldn't be surprising to anyone that a former CEO is pushed out when a new CEO his hired. It's usually good business.
      • 7 Years Ago
      So long, suckers! Wake me up when this car isn't vaporware, I'll believe it when I see it sold.
      • 7 Years Ago
      If your company is held by investors, it's not "your" company anymore. They want a return and so far he hasn't produced any.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hmm, wasn't a movie made about a similar situation in the automotive industry 60 years ago? Something about a guy named Preston Tucker from Chicago...
        • 7 Years Ago
        from Michigan
        • 7 Years Ago
        I stand corrected, thanks for clarifying
      • 7 Years Ago
      The founder was probably slowing down the car to market trying to keep on doing whatever he does and the investors filled their own people in while they got impatient about not seeing any return on investment.
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