A new report by Reuters says that the founder of Tesla’s newly formed Advanced Automation division, through the acquisition of German-based Grohmann Engineering, was forced out after having disagreements with Elon Musk over client focus.
As the Silicon Valley electric car maker and energy solutions company prepares for arguably the most important growth phase in the company’s history, and continues to scale its manufacturing footprint while laying the foundation for its logistics and supply chain infrastructure, the company has remained laser-focused on Model 3 production. Inside sources familiar with the matter report that founder Klaus Grohmann’s decision to not part ways with the company’s legacy clients including Daimler and BMW created a rift between the executive and Chief Elon Musk.
Early reports indicated that Grohmann left the company he founded in March to retire. However, Reuters reports that Grohmann wanted to stay on after Tesla’s acquisition of Grohmann Engineering, but left after clashing with Musk over disagreements on how to treat existing clients.
A Tesla spokesperson confirmed Grohmann’s departure, and issued the following statement via Reuters:
“Part of Mr Grohmann’s decision to work with Tesla was to prepare for his retirement and leave the company in capable hands for the future. Given the change in focus to Tesla projects, we mutually decided that it was the right time for the next generation of management to lead.”
According to Klaus Grohmann, when reached by phone, “I definitely did not depart because I had lost interest in working,”. Gorhmann did not issue any other response, citing confidentiality clauses.
Tesla’s blog post from November which annoucned the formation of Tesla Advanced Automation Germany reads, “Led by founder and CEO Klaus Grohmann, Grohmann Engineering is one of the world leaders in highly automated methods of manufacturing. This transaction will bring Mr. Grohmann’s leadership, a world-class team and unique expertise in-house.” The post further validates that Tesla had originally planed to retain Klaus Grohmann. “Under the continued leadership of Mr. Grohmann, several critical elements of Tesla’s automated manufacturing systems will be designed and produced in Prüm to help make our factories the most advanced in the world.”
Tesla has continued to curb workers at the Grohmann Engineering facility from striking and creating unrest within the origanization. We reported today that Tesla has offered employees a one-time bonus, along with pay increases and stock options, as it remains focused on Model 3 production. This comes on the heels of demands issued by the German labor union IG Metall for formalized multi-year job guarantees and salary increases for workers at the engineering facility.