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Tesla Loses Top Exec Who Led the Company's Chinese Expansion

By John Bromels – Jun 10, 2020 at 3:57PM

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Robin Ren confirmed rumors that he had departed the automaker.

Late Tuesday evening, Tesla's (TSLA -4.59%) Vice President of Business Development Robin Ren updated his LinkedIn profile, listing June 2020 as the end date of his position at the electric carmaker. The move confirmed rumors that Ren had become the latest top executive to leave Tesla.

Ren had been with Tesla since 2015, first as Vice President of Asia Pacific. In that role, he was heavily involved in the successful effort to build a Tesla factory in Shanghai. As a result, Tesla became the first foreign automaker to operate a wholly-owned factory in China.

A Tesla Model S drives along a road at sunset.

Image source: Tesla.

In 2018, Ren's title was changed to Vice President of Worldwide Sales, and just over a year later, his role shifted to Vice President of Business Development. There has been no update on whether he has taken a position elsewhere.

Heading for the exits

Since 2018, Tesla has seen a fairly steady stream of top-level management departures. These include:

  • General Counsel Jonathan Chang, who left in December to join SambaNova, an artificial intelligence start-up,
  • Senior Vice President of Energy Operations Sanjay Shah, who became the COO of Beyond Meat in September,
  • Vice President of Engineering Stuart Bowers, who departed in August to join Greylock Partners, a venture capital firm, and
  • Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel, who departed in May 2019.

Considering Ren had been with the company for five years, it's not really accurate to call this a "revolving door" issue. The Shanghai factory began deliveries at the end of December, so Ren may have decided the time was right to move on. Neither CEO Elon Musk nor Tesla have elaborated on the departure.

John Bromels owns shares of Tesla. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Tesla. The Motley Fool recommends Beyond Meat, Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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