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Tesla loses Model S and Model X program manager to VW in order to ‘strengthen their EV position’

Tesla has lost a few executives and senior engineers over the last few months and now another is added to the list.

Volkswagen poached a senior Tesla engineer in charge of the Model S and Model X programs.

The German automaker announced that Tesla’s Matthew Renna is joining the company as ‘Vice President of Volkswagen North American Region (NAR)-G4’.

He will be starting later this month and take over the responsibilities of “managing the NAR-G4 team, steering objectives for the Modular Electrification Toolkit (MEB) line, Volkswagen’s modular system for manufacturing electric vehicles.”

The MEB platform is supporting the series of all-electric vehicles currently known as the I.D. electric vehicles that VW is planning to bring to market starting in 2020.

Hinrich J. Woebcken, CEO of the VW North American Region, commented on hiring Renna:

“Matt brings an outstanding combination of financial acumen, engineering depth and product program management– all within the electric vehicle space. His experience and leadership will be a tremendous asset as we strengthen our electric vehicle position in North America and we are excited to welcome him to Volkswagen.”

Renna commented on his move on LinkedIn:

“I am honored to join the Volkswagen family. Electrification is a mission close to my heart, and I am excited for this new adventure with VW!”

Before joining VW, Renna had been working at Tesla since 2013.

He first started as an electrical engineer and quickly move through the ranks – becoming ‘Model 3 Project Manager’ in 2015 and since 2016, he has been the Model S and Model X program manager, according to his LinkedIn account.

The engineer described the position:

“Managed Model S and X platforms delivering record sales and profitability. Responsibilities spanned from new product ideation through design, supply, manufacturing, finance, and sales. Launched longest range EV (100D), fastest production vehicle (P100D), and highest featured autopilot system to date.”

Tesla declined to comment on Renna leaving the company.

Renna’s departure from Tesla follows a series of other high-level engineers leaving the company, like Jason Mendez, senior director for manufacturing engineering, and Will McColl, senior manager for equipment engineering.

Electrek’s Take

It’s certainly a loss for Tesla, but it might be a good thing for overall EV development since the MEB platform is expected to enable several high volume all-electric vehicle programs, which are currently rare outside of Tesla.

Now VW gets an engineer with experience in managing two successful electric vehicle programs to bring the new platform to market.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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