Two top manufacturing executives are leaving Tesla Motors, including the global head of production, at a time when the electric-car company is preparing to launch its most important car: the mass-production Model 3.
Greg Reichow, Tesla’s vice president of production and one of its highest-paid executives, and Josh Ensign, vice president of manufacturing, will leave the company. A Tesla spokesperson confirmed both departures and said Reichow will remain until his replacement is found.
A person familiar with the situation who isn’t authorized to speak about the matter said the executive changes are linked to delays, glitches, and a recall that have bedeviled Tesla’s Model X. Tesla denied any connection between the departures and production problems with its SUV.
“This is not about the Model X,” said a Tesla spokesperson. “After being at Tesla for over five years and leading its production team for the past three years, Greg Reichow has announced his intention to take a leave of absence from Tesla so that he can have a well-earned break.”
The latest high-level personnel changes brings to five the total number of Tesla vice-presidents who have left the company this year, and Reichow marks the biggest departure. He served as the leader of car production and had been one of Tesla’s highest-compensated employees, making almost $6.4 million in cash, stock, and options in the last two years, according to company filings.
Tesla did not elaborate on Ensign’s plan to leave.
“Greg and the team deserve a lot of credit for building an all-new manufacturing organization from the ground up and for making Model S and Model X a reality,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk in an e-mail to Bloomberg. “We’re confident that with the strength of the team, high-quality manufacturing at Tesla will continue.”
In the same e-mail provided by Tesla, Reichow added: “My belief in Tesla’s ability to successfully deliver great cars and inspire the world to drive electric remains as strong as ever.”
While Tesla described Reichow’s exit as a leave of absence — and other executives have left and rejoined — the company also said Reichow will be involved in handing off his responsibilities to a successor to ensure uninterrupted production.