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Doug Field, Tesla’s Senior VP of engineering, is taking a leave of absence for an undisclosed period of time, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“Doug is just taking some time off to recharge and spend time with his family. He has not left Tesla,” a Tesla spokesperson told Reuters.
Last month, The Information reported that Musk had taken over Model 3 production from Field. Musk replied to the reporter on Twitter, saying he asked Field, who was in charge of both engineering and production, to focus on engineering in an effort to leverage his experience to make cars easier to build. Musk said he regards Field as one of the “world’s most talented engineering execs.”
While Tesla says Field’s leave is temporary, it still worries Tesla watchers who have seen a series of departures from high-profile executives. Tesla Autopilot chief Jim Keller left the company in late April, after chief accounting officer Eric Branderiz and corporate treasurer and VP of finance Susan Repo departed the month prior. Tesla head of global sales Jon McNeill left the company in February.
Still, some are pointing the case of Jerome Guillen, another Tesla exec who took an extended period of time off before returning to run Tesla’s truck program. With Model 3 production seemingly starting to hit its stride, Field could be charging up to take on the task of engineering the upcoming Model Y crossover.