Things appear to be spiralling out of control.
Beleaguered electric vehicle startup Faraday Future has been dealt with yet another blow, after its third (of five) ‘founding’ executive at the company tendered his resignation. Richard Kim, the design boss at Faraday Future, who was responsible for the designs of both the BMW i8 and BMW i3 before he penned the visually-arresting FF91, left the company after spending 2-3 months pondering on his future at the firm, it’s alleged.
“Richard gave his heart & soul to that company, and he tried to make it work. He’s been considering leaving for 2-3 months.” — Source, speaking to the Verge
All that’s left of the five ‘founding’ executives is Nick Sampson and Dag Reckhorn of the R&D and manufacturing divisions respectively (we can’t imagine the latter has a lot to do), with the head of HR having left in August, and the supply-chain boss calling it quits in October.
Kim’s resignation comes just shortly after the resignations of both Stefan Krause and Ulrich Kranz, the CFO and CTO respectively. Both, like Kim, were poached from BMW, and were tasked with helping to get the floundering startup back on track. Former CFO Krause had an especially hard job, finding alternative sources of investment to save the company, which included even partnering up with an existing, more established manufacturer to get cars off the line.
The two former BMW execs left as a result of disagreements with Jia Yueting, the Chinese ‘billionaire’ who made his money in online entertainment streaming (his company, LeEco, is described as the ‘Netflix of China’). YT, as Faraday Future calls him, has had his finances frozen by Chinese courts due to an issue with LeEco, and while that’s rightfully separate from Faraday Future, it threw a spanner into Faraday Future’s financial works. As a result, Faraday Future binned its ambitious plans for a billion-dollar factory in Nevada (which itself was previously described as “a Ponzi scheme”).
Kim, according to the Verge, had disagreements with Yueting as well it seems, as he had explained that he was willing to stay with Faraday Future for as long as needed provided that Faraday Future stopped spreading itself so thinly across a large number of staff, trimming the fat and keeping only a core group of people engaged until the FF91 hit the market. This was, apparently, not what Yueting wanted.
Further, a report from the Verge uncovered that while high-level execs are jumping ship with alarming frequency, the company is having a hard time just keeping its staff engaged in the office. Allan Lu, the go-to-market ops boss at Faraday, was not happy when “only 2 people were in the office” when Jia Yueting decided to show potential investors around the outfit.
“I would like to make it clear that we will be on-time to the work starting from 9:00am every day and closing of business by 6:00pm, unless you have your managers [sic] pre-approval for late come or early leave. The company is very close to obtaining investment, and WE MUST go back to our “fight mode” IMMEDIATELY!” — Allan Lu, Head of Go-To-Market Operations, Faraday Future
In an unrelated development, a former employee of Faraday Future is taking the company to court for dismissing her allegations of sexual harassment and cyberstalking, after one of its IT executives “repeatedly approached her, often at night, and asked for her personal information.”
Genesis Reyes worked as a security guard in a single-person security booth at the Faraday Future factory, where she also claimed the security cameras were switched off as her location was also where Faraday Future would test its prototypes. Reyes was subsequently fired for raising her complaints.
“What kind of message does a company send when it fires a woman who has mustered up the courage to complain? The time has come to expose common corporate policies of “zero tolerance” as empty promises. We are looking forward to exposing the real way Faraday does business.” — James Urbanic, Legal Representative for Genesis Reyes
Reyes brought her complaints, both written and verbal, to her immediate supervisors at G4S Secure Solutions (the security company contracted by Faraday Future), as well as her HR representative, the HR vice president, and even went all the way up to Tony Nie, one of the co-founders of Faraday Future.
In response to the article published by the Verge, Faraday Future said: “We will not comment on ongoing litigation.”
Keep the popcorn coming, because we reckon there’s enough time for a few more salacious scandals before Faraday Future finally throws in the towel. Unless they're thrown a lifeline, of course.
Stay tuned to CarShowroom as we bring you more updates as they come.