There seems to be a bit of tension lingering after the appointment of Ze’ev Drori (pictured left, bottom) as the new CEO of Tesla Motors, the high profile Silicon valley electric car company.
Tesla released a statement last Friday at 6pm, apparently in an effort to avoid news attention, that Martin Eberhard (pictured top), co-founder of Tesla Motors, has transitioned from the board of directors to the advisory board. This came after Eberhard had already been replaced by interim CEO Michael Marks in August.
In an online post attributed to Eberhard on TeslaMotorsClub, Eberhard said: “I am not at all happy with the way I was treated, and I do not think this was the very best way to handle a transition — not the best for Tesla Motors, not the best for Tesla’s customers (to whom I still feel a strong sense of responsibility), and not for Tesla’s investors.”
It’s tough when you’ve founded a company to be suddenly booted out, looking at it from the outside after putting in some much work.
Greentech Media reports that Eberhard still wanted to be part of Tesla, and that it was purely the decision of Elon Musk, Chairman of Tesla, and Drori to have him out of the way. Tesla’s VP of marketing, Darryl Siry, however, told VentureBeat that it was a full board decision to have Eberhard out of the company in a formal manner. Aside from Musk, there are five other people on the board, mostly investors in the company.
There has been some tension between Musk and Eberhard over technical issues dealing with the car (most notably its transmission). Now it’s clear that these differences have resulted in Eberhard’s departure from the company. The company has delayed its first car offering a couple of times, but says it is still on track to deliver its first high-performance quarter next quarter.
It’s not clear how much of a role Eberhard will play in the future of Tesla given his significant equity stake in the company and advisory position. It will come down to how much advice Drori will seek from Eberhard’s experience with Tesla. Eberhard says now he is a free man and is going to take the next six months to reflect on his next venture. He is still concerned about global warming and hopes to help solve the problem with his next company, he says.