Tesla execs Drew Baglino and Rohan Patel leave as company lays off 10%

Tesla execs Drew Baglino and Rohan Patel leave as company lays off 10%

Two high-profile executives have departed Tesla the same day that the electric automaker laid off thousands of workers, TechCrunch has confirmed.

Drew Baglino, Tesla’s SVP of Powertrain and Energy, and Rohan Patel, VP of Public Policy and Business Development, have left the company, Patel told TechCrunch. Patel said he decided to leave because of “[b]ig overall changes” at the company that he declined to specify. Their departures were first reported by Bloomberg.

“Good for me and hopefully also good for Tesla,” Patel said in a message to TechCrunch. “Had an amazing run and accomplished way more than I could’ve ever imagined, as a result of working with the best policy/bizdev team in the business.” Baglino said in a post on X that it was a “difficult decision” to leave after 18 years at Tesla. Tesla CEO Elon Musk thanked both of them for their time at the company in posts on his social media platform, X.

Their departures come as Tesla is laying off thousands of employees in a bid to cut costs and boost productivity, according to an internal email sent to staff by Musk, which Electrek and Bloomberg News first reported. The electric automaker is cutting “more than 10%” of its global headcount, Musk said in the email. Tesla finished 2023 with over 140,000 employees, meaning the cuts could impact more than 14,000 people.

Musk announced the layoffs just two weeks after Tesla reported its first year-over-year drop in sales in three years, amid a wider cooling of demand for EVs. The company has warned investors that sales growth could be “notably lower” in 2024 than its stated goal of 50% growth each year. It’s also somewhat in between product cycles for the first time in years, with the expensive Cybertruck only just recently going into production and the popular Model Y entering its fourth year without any significant updates.

“As we prepare the company for our next phase of growth, it is extremely important to look at every aspect of the company for cost reductions and increasing productivity,” Musk said in the email. Tesla’s growth, he said, has led to “duplication of roles and job functions in certain areas.”

“As part of this effort, we have done a thorough review of the organization and made the difficult decision to reduce our headcount by more than 10% globally. There is nothing I hate more, but it must be done. This will enable us to be lean, innovative and hungry for the next growth phase cycle,” Musk wrote.

Baglino’s departure is the second time a top executive has left the company in the past year, as Tesla CFO Zachary Kirkhorn stepped down in August 2023. Baglino oversaw engineering for the company’s powertrain and battery technologies. He also had become one of the more responsive executives on Musk’s social media platform. Patel, who spent years as a special assistant to President Barack Obama and an advisor on climate and energy, was similarly engaging with Tesla customers and fans in recent months.

Tesla shipped a record 1.8 million EVs in 2023. But the company spent much of the year slashing prices on its most popular models in an effort to counterbalance the impact of high interest rates and increased global competition. The company has also reportedly dropped — or at the very least, delayed — plans to build a lower-cost EV that would retail starting at around $25,000, opting instead to use the underlying platform being developed to power an alleged robotaxi that Musk said will debut on August 8.

This story and headline have been updated to include news of the departures of Drew Baglino and Rohan Patel.