Tesla Shake-up in Germany

Tesla Shake-up in Germany

by Gill D on November 13, 2020

Last month, Tesla terminated the employment of Evan Horetsky who was the engineer behind Tesla’s Giga Berlin construction project. He has been with Tesla since 2015 and first got started on the Giga Nevada project. Evan has been heavily involved in the development of Tesla’s Gigafactories and took on the role to manage the Berlin project. His technical background and know-how earned him the nickname of “Mister Gigafactory”.

Tesla’s Berlin Gigafactory has done remarkably well in terms of progress and it was just a few weeks ago where Tesla boss, Elon Musk was ringing the praises of his German team. However, things seemed to have soured and now Evan has been asked to leave the building. There are unconfirmed rumors that it has to do with unpaid water bills that led to a few issues on-site.

Seems like big shoes to fill after letting one of the big guys go…but Musk didn’t waste time in finding a suitable replacement. The latest decision by the Tesla CEO has seemed to rattle feathers.

Musk has now hired René Reif who was previously head of a Mercedes-Benz factory that is situated near Berlin but he had left the company last year October. Either way, this has created an upset with the local union. The Merc factory has been going through some reshuffling and the union, IG Metall feels that Tesla is involved. In fact, the union believes that Daimler is getting into Tesla’s pocket which is causing disruption. Things have got heated with the union protesting at the Merc factory gates saying:

“We will make it clear that we see the change in the plant manager as a betrayal, it is questionable whether we have not been lied to the whole time.”

This is not the first time Tesla has had a confrontation with IG Metall. In 2017. IG Metall were unnerved when Tesla acquired Grohmann Engineering and there was talk off Mercedes getting involved. This is what Reuters reported on the matter:

Daimler’s works council chief Michael Brecht told Manager Magazin that one of the reasons the company is struggling to meet battery demand is because Tesla bought Grohmann Engineering, a battery automation specialist hired by Mercedes-Benz to build up its own battery manufacturing capacity.

The reasons of letting Evan go are unconfirmed. There is no Tesla public relations to confirm any rumor. But we know Elon Musk draws in talent. He doesn’t let that go on a whim so let’s trust his decisions are based something solid.

It was just the other day when Musk tweeted that he would interview potential engineers in person.

"Recruiting ace engineers for Giga Berlin! Will interview in person tomorrow on site. Send resume to 25Guns@Tesla.com."

Two days later, Musk tweeted:

"When sending your resume, please describe a few of the hardest problems you solved & exactly how you solved"

So, at the end of the day, who approached who… we don’t know.

Who is René Reif ?

Reif has worked for Daimler since 1990 and he is a mechanical engineer who has held prominent managerial positions in Brazil and China. He has a string of accomplishments such as being responsible for local vehicle and engine production at Mercedes in Beijing, and managed the two northern plants in Berlin and Hamburg.

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