Tesla loses one of its most senior engineering executives

Tesla is losing one of its most senior engineering executives, Colin Campbell, and he is going to a company founded by Tesla cofounder and board member JB Straubel.

Colin Campbell joined Tesla in 2006 when the company was nothing more than a small startup with a plan to bring an electric sports car, the Roadster, to market.

As one of the earliest engineers to join Tesla, Campbell rose through the ranks of the powertrain team as the company grew from a startup to one of the largest companies on earth.

In 2016, he joined the executive team as a director of engineering for power electronics. He was quickly promoted to senior director in charge of all powertrain development:

Responsible for the electrical, mechanical, and manufacturing engineering of high power electronics, motors, gearboxes, battery packs, and charging systems across both vehicle and energy businesses.

Most recently, he was vice president of powertrain at Tesla, but he has now announced that he is leaving the company after 17 years.

Campbell announced on LinkedIn today that he left Tesla to join Redwood Materials:

After 17 incredible years at Tesla, I’m excited to share that I will be joining Redwood Materials as CTO!

The engineer will join his longtime colleague JB Straubel, who was a cofounder and longtime CTO at Tesla before he left in 2019 to start Redwood, a company that is trying to create a North American battery supply chain through the production of cathode and anode materials and recycling.

Straubel also rejoined Tesla recently by accepting a seat on the company’s board – potentially making this hire a bit awkward.

Campbell commented on his time at Tesla:

I had a once-in-a-lifetime experience at Tesla and, as an engineer, I can’t begin to summarize how many rewarding technical challenges I encountered while building our thrilling, safe, reliable, and increasingly affordable EVs. My time at the company began when we barely had a proof of concept and ends with millions of Teslas on the road worldwide. We not only made a difference on global emissions, but also forever influenced how the world thinks about transportation and helped to shape the product roadmaps of almost every other automaker. It’s been more rewarding and memorable than I could have imagined.

But there’s a chance that he might still get to work with Tesla in some capacity since Straubel rejoining Tesla has sparked rumors of the two companies building ties.

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