Tesla Ousts Executive For Clashing With Elon Musk Over Direction Of Company

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Tesla ousted executive Klaus Grohmann in March for not devoting his automation firm’s entire stable of resources toward developing Tesla products, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The Silicon Valley electric automaker is counting on Grohmann Engineering to help ratchet up production on 500,000 vehicles by 2018. Tesla CEO Elon Musk demanded the firm focus on Tesla projects instead of Grohmann’s other clients, such as Tesla’s chief rivals Daimler and BMW, sources told Reuters.

“I definitely did not depart because I had lost interest in working,” Grohmann told reporters without elaborating on the decision to push him out of the company he founded. Tesla purchased Luxemburg-based Grohmann Engineering, which was later renamed Tesla Grohmann Engineering, last November to help the automaker increase its automation and engineering expertise.

A Tesla spokesman told reporters that Grohmann had an interim-type status with the company.

“Part of Mr Grohmann’s decision to work with Tesla was to prepare for his retirement and leave the company in capable hands for the future,” the spokesman said. “Given the change in focus to Tesla projects, we mutually decided that it was the right time for the next generation of management to lead.”

Parts of Grohmann’s workforce felt insecure about becoming overly dependent on one client after the founder’s departure, sources claim. Tesla was once one of Grohmann’s top clients, but Musk decided to buy the firm as pressure grew to increase production volumes.

Grohmann’s ouster comes as Tesla employees claim Musk is working to suppress their efforts to unionize the company’s California facility.

Employees and the United Auto Workers filed charges earlier in April with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) claiming Tesla is attempting to scuttle efforts to unionize the Silicon Valley company, reports Buzzfeed.

A Tesla spokesman, meanwhile, said the “allegations are entirely without merit and (we) will be responding as part of the NLRB process.”

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