Tesla engineering chief Mike Donoughe resigns

Just over a year after joining Tesla Motors, Mike Donoughe is leaving. Donoughe had served as executive vice president of vehicle engineering and manufacturing for the electric vehicle builder. The former Chrysler executive was brought in to help get the engineering and manufacturing processes sorted out at a time when Tesla was trying to get production of the Roadster increased while at the same time trying to validate an upgraded powertrain with a new transmission. Since that time, Tesla has gotten to the stage where they are now steadily producing more than 100 cars a month.
Donoughe will become a senior partner at Detroit based consulting firm St Clair Consortium, which helps companies develop lean processes. Donoughe also plans to spend time working with the Cornerstone Youth Development fund. According to a statement issued by Tesla spokeswoman Rachel Konrad (pasted after the break), this is a logical time for Donoughe to leave since Roadster production is now humming along and Model S development is just about to hit high gear. No replacement has been named for Donoughe, but Peter Rawlinson will remain as chief engineer for the Model S.


Tesla Executive Mike Donoughe to Join Industry Consortium

Mike Donoughe, currently Executive Vice President of Vehicle Engineering and Manufacturing for Tesla Motors, will join the Detroit-based St. Clair Consortium as senior partner, effective Oct. 1. Tesla has not publicly named Donoughe's replacement. Tesla Chief Engineer Peter Rawlinson is head of engineering on the all-electric Model S sedan and will retain his responsibilities in that capacity.

Donoughe's planned departure comes at the most logical and least disruptive time for the automaker - after the successful Roadster ramp up but before the start of production of the Model S. In addition to his consulting work, Donoughe plans to dedicate more time to the Rochester, Mich.-based Cornerstone Youth Development Fund, which he co-founded with his daughter, Kelly. Cornerstone is a non-profit organization focused on making facility infrastructure, student tuition and teacher salary investments in Uganda and Detroit to advance the education and development of youth.

Donoughe joined San Carlos, Calif.-based Tesla in 2008, shortly after Tesla had begun production of its first product, the all-electric Roadster sports car. Donoughe helped guide the company to fully ramped-up production this summer, when Tesla hit its production target of 25 cars per week. Tesla, the only automaker producing and selling highway-capable EVs, has delivered more than 700 Roadsters in the United States and Europe so far. Donoughe also focused on enhancing Roadster quality and helped execute a cost-down program that helped Tesla achieve a significant financial milestone and reach profitability in July.

"Mike joined the company shortly after we had begun manufacturing the Roadster, and his enthusiasm and expertise helped Tesla achieve fully ramped-up production," said Tesla CEO Elon Musk. "He's leaving the company on very solid footing and at a logical time in Tesla's phenomenal growth curve. We wish him all the best."

"Tesla is a company populated throughout with excellent and enthusiastic people. It has been a wonderful experience for me to have been a part of this talented team," Donoughe said. "At the same time, having the opportunity to join the St. Clair Consortium will, along with my Cornerstone activities, enable me to continue to pursue my personal and professional objectives going forward. I will remain an enthusiastic supporter of Tesla -- both as a shareholder and as a Model S sedan reservation holder."

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