Musk Tosses the Sleeping Bag to a New Bigshot

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
musk tosses the sleeping bag to a new bigshot

Big Tesla news inevitable comes at odd times, usually at the very end of the week, and most often at night — at least here on the East Coast. And so it was that late Friday afternoon, following another bizarre week of Elon antics (and two high-profile departures), Tesla CEO Elon Musk upset the negative news cycle by announcing a shakeup of his company’s upper ranks, including the appointment of a president of automotive.

What does a president of automotive do? A hell of a lot, it seems. Besides overseeing all of the company’s automotive operations, newly promoted Tesla veteran Jerome Guillen must also keep the sometimes dodgy supply chain running smoothly. His other big role involves removing stress from Musk’s life.

Given Musk’s increasingly erratic behaviour, many have pondered the creation of a new, high-responsibility role to take the heat off the Twitter-loving CEO.

“Jerome will oversee all automotive operations and program management, as well as coordinate our extensive automotive supply chain,” Musk said in a published email sent to employees. Guillen, who’s been at Tesla for nearly eight years and most recently held the title of VP of trucks and programs, played a leading role in Operation Big Tent (our term) — the creation of a much-scrutinized, oft-derided outdoor Model 3 assembly line.

Guillen, who reports to Musk, “played a critical role in ramping Model 3 production, leading what almost all thought was impossible: creation of an entire high-volume General Assembly line for Model 3 in a matter of weeks,” Musk wrote.

Guillen joined the automaker in 2010 as program director for the Model S, later heading up Tesla’s global sales and service operations before landing in the truck program. Prior to joining Tesla, Guillen worked at Daimler AG and Freightliner.

On the same day we learned that Tesla’s “chief people officer,” Gaby Toledano, isn’t returning after her recent leave of absence, Musk named Kevin Kassekert “vice president of people and places.” An infuriating title, for sure. Anyway, Kassekert, formerly a VP of infrastructure development, now oversees human resources, facilities, construction and infrastructure development.

Elsewhere, Chris Lister was promoted to VP of Gigafactory Operations, responsible for ramping up Model 3 production, while further down the chain of importance Dave Arnold was promoted to senior director of global communications.

[Image: 01netTV/ YouTube]

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  • TimK TimK on Sep 08, 2018

    So they finally found Doug Field's replacement? I hope his employment contract has a nice exit bonus cause this so-called promotion has "Fall Guy" written all over it.

  • Arthurk45 Arthurk45 on Sep 09, 2018

    Latest data NOT tweeted by Musk - production fell woefully short of the claimed 6,000 Model 3s per week, and 4300 out of 5000 cars required repairs coming off the "assembly line." Tent assembly line shown to be operating in slow motion much of the time. And it doesn't get any better after delivery - 65 percent of owners had to get one or more repairs during the first month. Insurance rates beginning to skyrocket as the companies come to realize that Tesla cars are designed to be fast builds, not easy (or cheap) repairability from collisions. One auto expert christened the Model 3 as the worst quality vehicle on the planet (takes bottom spot from Tesla's Model X). Now would you trust a company owned and run by a mental case?

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  • ToolGuy I had a point to make, but can't remember if it related to Part XXVIIII or Part XXIX.