Faraday Future Supply Chain Manager Leaves as Executive Exodus Continues
Tom Wessner was one of Faraday's first hires.
Faraday Future has lost another key executive. Tom Wessner, head of the electric car startup's supply chain management, resigned earlier this week. Wessner's resignation was first reported by The Verge, and Faraday subsequently confirmed it.
Wessner was one of the first five executives brought in to help run Faraday by co-founders Nick Sampson, Tony Nie, and Jia Yueting (head of Chinese electronics conglomerate LeEco) in 2015. Another of those executives, Alan Cherry, Faraday's human resources head, left in August.
Both Cherry and Wessner previously worked at Tesla. A list of executives and other employees with previous experience at established automakers was the foundation of Faraday's credibility in its early days. The startup attracted a lot of attention even before it unveiled its FF 91 electric SUV at CES 2017. But things have gone downhill since then.
Faraday has relied largely on Jia Yueting and his LeEco tech empire for funding, but LeEco has had its own cashflow problems recently. Faraday subsequently put its plans for a $1 billion factory in North Las Vegas, Nevada, on hold. It's now looking to convert a former tire factory in California into a smaller assembly plant, and has dissolved its agreement with the Nevada state government.
The uncertainty has had an impact on staff. In addition to Wessner and Cherry, J.J. Luranc, Faraday's head of global logistics, left in September, according to The Verge. Faraday motorsports boss Nate Schroeder left in July, and Faraday subsequently reduced its involvement in Formula E. Several employees who worked on the FF 91 have reportedly left as well.
Faraday is expected to make some new hires. Michael Cooperman is being brought in to lead the automaker's communications team, and Caroline Banzali will be the company's new global head of tax. But it's unclear when the other vacant positions—many vital to Faraday's ability to operate—will be filled.
As for the FF 91, Faraday's previously-discussed 2018 launch date seems unlikely under these circumstances. The company doesn't expect work at its new California factory site to ramp up until next year. Finishing the factory and producing the first cars in one year seems like a tall order.