By on September 8, 2018

Image: 01netTV/YouTube

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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23 Comments on “Musk Tosses the Sleeping Bag to a New Bigshot...”

  • avatar

    Deck chair, meet Titanic.

  • avatar

    That or a slow moving train wreck

  • avatar

    Now that Elon’s had a taste of chronic he may just throw in the towel and turn Gigafactory into a skatepark.

    • 0 avatar

      Or just throw a bunch of grow lights in there. Profit margins for days and in a business he actually knows about. He’s probably just waiting for some marijuana tax credits before he commits.

  • avatar

    A business model based upon rent-seeking and a cult of personality.

    The Book of Elon.

  • avatar

    Who is going to be the new vice president of action words and descriptive words?

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Musk needs to go to Ft. Wayne or Louisville and just ask the head guy and ask “How much will it take to hire you away?”. Have an individual with a strong manufacturing background run the gigafactory. Let a car, well truck, guy run a car plant. It can’t be that hard. Apologies in advance to the Ram fans./owner, I don’t know where they’re made.

    • 0 avatar

      Get some guy who worked at the assembly line of an Indian moped manufacturer. Even that’ll be an improvement.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      You don’t understand. Tesla has plenty of people with solid automotive experience, such as the fellow featured in this story. The problem is that Mr Musk has micromanaged them to death.

      I hope this leadership change means he’s backing away from that behavior, but I have doubts.

    • 0 avatar

      Did I miss something? Because it looks like that’s pretty much what he did. Promoted a dude they’d hired from Daimler-Benz to head up automotive.

  • avatar

    Guillen used to be VP of trucks????? Anyone seen a Tesla truck??
    I agree with the above sentiment that Tesla needs to hire an old guy who has been in charge of an auto/truck plant for lots of years. Supply chain management and assembly are not that easy, especially for a high dollar product sold to demanding customers. MBAs and finance experience do not manufacture vehicles.

  • avatar

    You are an experienced auto VP who’s built millions of Camrys/F-150s over the years. You know just about everything there is to know about mass production –you’ve forgotten more than Musk will ever know about building cars– would you really want to jump ship to work for a guy who:

    1) smokes pot
    2) drops Ambien
    3) tweets nonsense (even manages to secure Monopoly money)
    4) blatantly accuses a guy of being a pedophile (even asks to be sued)
    5) micromanages to the point of sleeping on the factory floor
    6) never mind that he’s chased away more than a few people

    Didn’t think so.

  • avatar

    “His other big role involves removing stress from Musk’s life.”

    I knew it! I knew that’s how you get promotions at Tesla…

  • avatar

    The majority of you are so wrong about Tesla and Musk. The company is the real deal and Musk has/will deliver on the basic outline of the Tesla mission.

    I would bet on Elon any day.

    • 0 avatar

      Musk won the science fair.
      But he doesn’t understand the Toyota Production System.
      They are turning out cars with quality like the the Detroit 3 in the 70s/80s.
      My guess is there’s going to be a tsunami of warranty claims coming, also.

    • 0 avatar

      I bet on Elon every day too. I bet that he will massively fail with Tesla and so far I’ve been completely right.

  • avatar

    Tesla – What a disgrace !

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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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