Faraday Future's Ghost CEO Abandons Company Days Before Key Unveiling
Faraday Future continues to dispense epoch-making levels of hype as the company seemingly implodes. Last week, Faraday’s chief brand and commercial officer and its vice president for product marketing both abandoned the company. This week, they were followed by elusive Chinese overseer and “unofficial” CEO, Ding Lei. Of course, Faraday Future has already spent the last two years without a CEO — much in the same way it has functioned without sufficient capital, a clear business plan, or a tangible product.
Meanwhile, the company’s Twitter feed is excitedly counting down the days until it unveils something at the Consumer Electronics Show — making use of slogans such as, “When electricity could travel further, so could ideas.” At this point, I’m wagering ideas are just about all Faraday has left to offer.
The Verge says Ding, a top executive and co-founder of Chinese tech giant LeEco — the company that’s semi-secretly backing Faraday Future — recently stepped down from his supervisory role as FF’s “acting global CEO.” According to inside sources, the title was bestowed upon Ding by LeEco’s founder and chairman Jia Yueting until a suitable replacement could be found.
Despite leaving Faraday, a LeEco spokesperson says Ding remains with the company and presently holds the title of co-founder and global vice chairman at SEE Plan. However, there are rumors circulating that he’s about to leave LeEco for NextEV, which currently seems to have a shot at introducing an electric SUV to compete with Tesla’s Model X.
Ding quarterbacked LeEco’s self-driving LeSee EV project, which was unveiled at a promotion-heavy event last October. As for his influence at Faraday Future, not a lot is known. The man was present for the April groundbreaking of the company’s billion-dollar factory in Nevada and was on stage for last year’s presentation of FF’s insane FFZERO1 concept.
Construction on that factory is currently stalled due to nonpayment and it has millions in debt elsewhere, likely stemming from the rampant financial issues facing LeEco. While the Chinese company secured an investment of $1.4 billion from unnamed Chinese sources, it’s unclear how much of that will make its way toward Faraday — especially considering that LeEco just began construction on its own $1.6 billion EV factory in China’s Zhejiang province.
Where Faraday will get the money it needs to stabilize its own financial hardships are as ambiguous as the company’s discarnate hierarchy. An additional report from The Verge revealed that FF’s odd structuring includes a second entity based out of the Cayman Islands just for Faraday’s intellectual property. “If you’re an investor, you’re fucked,” an ex-executive told The Verge. “The company doesn’t own the IP.”
With all of that in mind, the company’s Twitter countdown seems to denote more than just the big unveiling of its first model at CES. It’s actually a countdown to the moment when we we’ll know for certain if Faraday Future will even be able to continue on as an organization.
Former executives from Faraday have hinted that the company’s first offering should be a luxury flagship sedan targeted to sell between $150,000 and $200,000 — significantly more than the stock Tesla Model S it is designed to compete with.
[Image: Faraday Future]
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