Tesla’s top engineering executive Drew Baglino leaves in massive leadership loss


Tesla’s top engineering executive, Drew Baglino, has left the automaker in a massive blow to the company’s leadership.

Baglino was one of the very first employees at Tesla. He worked closely with Tesla co-founder and long-time CTO JB Straubel before he left the executive team at Tesla in 2019.

At that time, he became the defacto most senior engineering leader at the company and put in charge of batteries, motors, drive units, power electronics and our energy products – arguably the heart of Tesla’s business.

The engineer spent 18 years at Tesla and yesterday, he decided to leave, which he confirmed today:

Baglino didn’t elaborate on the reason for his departure, but it doesn’t sound like he was poached since he says he has no concrete plan for the future beyond spending time with his family.

His departure comes as Tesla announced a round of layoffs of “more than 10%” of its workforce.

Electrek’s Take

Earlier this year, amid delays in performance reviews and salary adjustments, I noted that the morale at Tesla was really bad.

A combination of the previously mentioned delays in performance reviews and salary adjustments and a lack of leadership at the top as the company’s CEO is busy becoming a social and political commentator to keep the numbers up on his social media platform.

I noted that if Tesla starts to lose talent, it will become a real problem as the company’s capacity to attract and retain top talent has always been its biggest strength.

Baglino leaving is a bad sign on that front. I don’t know if he did it in solidarity to the people who were let go or if there’s another reason, but either way, from all accounts, he was a well-liked leader at Tesla, one of only a few left. His departure is not going to help morale.

This is a massive blow to Tesla’s leadership.

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