Faraday Future Boss Jia Yueting No Longer Controls the Company, Report Says
Chinese regulators are hounding Jia over his debts.
Jia Yueting, founder of Chinese tech giant LeEco, may have taken over as CEO of Faraday Future earlier this month, but he may no longer be the automaker's largest shareholder. Yueting was known as the financial muscle behind Faraday, but a new report claims that situation has changed.
Earlier this year, Jia transferred his controlling shares in Faraday's holding company to his nephew, Jiawei Wang, according to The Verge, which cites three anonymous individuals familiar with the matter. Wang does not list Faraday as an employer on his public LinkedIn profile, put two former employees and a third person close to the company told The Verge that he has been heavily involved in efforts to attract new financing. He's also been named as an executive of Faraday's holding company in official documents.
Wang was listed as the company's chief financial officer in documents filed with the California secretary of state earlier this year, and as treasurer in documents filed with the Nevada secretary of state in 2016. Faraday is based in California and received a generous incentive package from the Nevada government to build a factory in the state. Those plans eventually fell through; Faraday has since attempted to open a smaller factory in California.
Earlier this month, Wang's uncle Jia was placed on a Chinese debtor blacklist, and this week Chinese regulators ordered him to return to the country to address his debts. A Chinese court has seized about $200,000 of his assets in the form of bank deposits, plus two of his Beijing properties and 1 billion of his shares in Leshi Internet Information & Technology Corporation, LeEco's sibling company, according to Bloomberg.
But Jia claims to be turning things around. In addition to formally taking over as CEO of Faraday earlier this month, he claimed to have acquired $1 billion in funding for the automaker. Faraday is desperately in need of cash, as recent reports have indicated the company was in danger of not making its employee payroll. Faraday has also experienced an exodus of executives over the past few months, including its supply-chain manager, chief financial officer, and design boss. It doesn't seem like Faraday's FF 91 electric SUV will start production anytime soon.