HR Head of Electric Car Startup Faraday Future Resigns

A companywide email urged remaining employees to keep a positive attitude.

Faraday Future

Faraday Future's former head of human resources Crystal Peterson is the latest executive to leave the troubled electric-car startup. Her departure was first reported by The Verge, which cited reports from multiple current and former Faraday employees.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Peterson was Faraday's 12th employee. She served as HR director for just under three years before taking the department's top spot after previous HR head Alan Cherry resigned last August. Faraday would not comment on Peterson's departure.

On the day of Peterson's departure, a company-wide email proclaimed a "'zero tolerance' policy on the behaviors that are against the interest and mission of the company." Those behaviors include leaking internal communications and, apparently, having a negative attitude about the company's prospects.

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"One thing we will not tolerate, however, is to harbor those who have lost their passion and loyalty to FF and our mission for 2018 and beyond," the email said. That may seem harsh, but The Verge claimed this message was less severe than previous emails sent out in the wake of high-profile executive departures. Citing conversations with Faraday employees and internal documents, it said employee morale is deteriorating due to a rift between American employees and the Chinese cadre brought in by Chinese tech entrepreneur—and current Faraday CEO—Jia Yueting.

While Faraday is an American company, it has relied heavily on Jia and his LeEco tech company for funding. Jia recently appointed himself CEO of Faraday, but even before that, he reportedly exerted a strong influence on decision making, and attempted to populate Faraday with employees from LeEco. Cultural differences between the American and Chinese factions reportedly created significant internal tension.

To make matters worse, the collapse of LeEco's finances last year left Faraday without a ready source of funding. Shortly after taking over as CEO in December, Jia claimed he had secured $1 billion to keep Faraday afloat. But Jia is in trouble himself, having racked up significant personal debts. Now living in California, he has refused calls from regulators in his home country of China to return and settle the debt issue. But even if Faraday's financial situation improves, one wonders if the company will have enough employees left to continue.