In a company-wide email sent out on Sunday night, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has alleged that an employee has been sabotaging operations at the company.
In the email obtained by CNBC, Musk said he was “dismayed to learn” that an employee had been making changes to the Tesla codebase under false usernames in addition to “exporting large amounts of highly sensitive Tesla data” to as-yet-unknown third parties.
According to Musk, the culprit has been identified and was recently passed over for a promotion:
The full extent of his actions are not yet clear, but what he has admitted to so far is pretty bad. His stated motivation is that he wanted a promotion that he did not receive. In light of these actions, not promoting him was definitely the right move.
Musk said that with sabotage it is most common that the motive is “something simple like wanting to get back at someone within the company or at the company as a whole“, but suggested it could also be more serious, listing the various organisations that could theoretically be out to get the manufacturer:
As you know, there are a long list of organizations that want Tesla to die. These include Wall Street short-sellers, who have already lost billions of dollars and stand to lose a lot more. Then there are the oil & gas companies, the wealthiest industry in the world — they don’t love the idea of Tesla advancing the progress of solar power & electric cars.
Tesla is currently ramping up production on the new Model 3, aiming to hit a manufacturing rate of 5,000 per week, which Musk described as the time that “outside forces have the strongest motivation to stop [them]“, telling employees to be “extremely vigilant“.
Last week, Elon Musk announced that the company would be letting go around 9% of its workforce as part of a “reorg“.Image: Getty Images / Justin Sullivan