Tesla (TSLA) responded to a story from Bloomberg which said the company is losing key personnel as it races to bring the Model 3 to market later this year.
“Tesla’s ability to attract and retain talent has been one of our biggest assets,” Tesla’s response said. “In 2016, the attrition rate across Tesla was below industry average for technology companies. The length of tenure on the senior leadership team has been especially strong. Of Tesla’s most senior executives, 75% have more than 3 years of tenure, 60% have more than 6 years of tenure, and 20% have more than a decade of tenure. Of everyone who has had a leadership position at Tesla over our 14-year existence, nearly 60% are still with the company today. In a number of cases, including most recently with our CFO, Deepak Ahuja, and another one of our most senior leaders, Jerome Guillen, they left Tesla to take a break only to return a short time later.”
“At a company with 30,000 people, particularly one like Tesla where people work especially hard to achieve what is a very challenging mission, there will inevitably be some amount of turnover,” the response continued. “However, the relative lack of turnover at Tesla has been one of the biggest reasons for the company’s success. The company has nearly 2,000 employees at the manager level and above, and selectively cherry-picking the few who choose to leave, many of whom had long tenures of their own at the company, is neither fair nor instructive.”
The Bloomberg story said that among those leaving is Chief Financial Officer Jason Wheeler, who announced his departure just 15 months after he joined the company, the report noted.
Analysts flagged the departures as a risk to what will be Tesla’s most challenging execution year, the story noted. CEO Elon Musk plans to introduce the Model 3, is starting battery production at the Gigafactory and will integrate its recent acquisition of SolarCity.