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Tesla assigns former paint operations chief as Fremont’s new production head

The Tesla Model Y body shop in Fremont, CA. (Credit: Tesla)

Tesla officially has a new Head of Production at its Fremont manufacturing plant in Northern California: Richard Miller.

An email from Tesla that was recently sent to company employees announced Richard Miller’s promotion from Head of Paint Operations to Overall Head of Production at Fremont on Monday, May 11, TechCrunch reported. The internal communication cited Miller’s impressive performance in his prior role as one of the reasons behind his promotion.

The internal email stated, “Due to excellent performance as head of paint operations in Fremont, Richard Miller is hereby promoted to overall head of Fremont Production. Congratulations!”

The role was previously filled by Jatinder Dhillon, who left the company in March, according to a report from CNBC.

The change in leadership comes at a rather turbulent time for Tesla’s Fremont factory. Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that some manufacturing and automotive businesses were permitted to resume “limited operations” while maintaining safe social distancing measures.

Musk and Tesla Human Resources representative Valerie Capers Workman sent an email to Fremont employees on the evening of Thursday, May 7, indicating that the facility would operate at a 30% capacity. However, the attempt to resume production of the company’s electric vehicles was shot down at the county level, as the Interim Health Official for Alameda County advised that Tesla was not to open on Friday.

Over the following weekend, Tesla released its “Return to Work Playbook,” a 38-page document that outlined strategies in how it could return to work safely. Many of the techniques used in this document were successful at Tesla’s China-based production facility, Giga Shanghai. Musk also expressed his displeasure at Alameda County’s stance, stating that Tesla would be moving its headquarters and future projects outside California.

Reports began to circulate on Monday that Fremont’s employee parking lot was already full of cars. Local media outlets eventually confirmed that Tesla had resumed production at Fremont against the wishes of County officials. That being said, in an emergency press release on Tuesday, the county stated that it had reviewed Tesla’s plan to keep its employees safe. County officials then decided that normal operations will be allowed to continue starting next week.

“We received Tesla’s site-specific Fremont COVID-19 Prevention and Control Plan yesterday as anticipated. A site-specific plan is a part of the Governor’s guidance for reopening manufacturing,” the Alameda County Public Health Department stated.

Tesla has received support from U.S. President Donald Trump, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Tesla assigns former paint operations chief as Fremont’s new production head
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