A top Tesla executive has left the electric vehicle maker amid an investigation into whether he misused his position to purchase a hard-to-get glass for Elon Musk.
Omead Afshar, one of Musk’s top lieutenants, is expected to part ways with Tesla, likely through a leave of absence, insiders allege.
Investigators began probing Afshar after a purchase order for a rare glass was flagged as suspicious earlier this year.
Sources familiar with the investigation told Bloomberg the executive requested the glass be ordered, telling employees it was for a ‘special project.’
Officials are now trying to determine if the glass was ordered for Musk’s personal use, although no further details on any projects involving the glass have emerged.
Afshar runs Giga Texas, the firm’s automotive manufacturing facility near Austin that now serves as Musk’s primary home base.
News of Afshar’s exit comes just one day after the company reported higher-than-expected quarterly profits and converted about 75 percent of its Bitcoin into nearly $1 billion in cash.
Insiders allege Tesla executive Omead Afshar (pictured) – who runs the firm’s Texas plant and is one of CEO Elon Musk’s top lieutenants – is expected to part ways with the company amid an investigation into whether he misused his position to purchase a hard-to-get glass
The internal investigation began after the glass purchase order was flagged to Tesla’s finance and internal audit groups earlier this year.
The ongoing global supply chain crisis has made the glass difficult to obtain, but the company’s ‘global manufacturing powerhouse’ status makes it easier to obtain high-demand construction materials.
The probe revealed Afshar had requested the purchase order, leaving some suspicious he misused his position at the firm to secure the material which may not have actually been intended for company use.
Afshar continued to work at the plant in Austin this week, but sources claim he is likely to take a leave of absence as the probe continues.
Tesla has reportedly already fired several employees in connection to the investigation.
Afshar requested the glass be ordered, telling employees it was for a ‘special project.’ Investigators are now trying to determine if the glass was ordered for the personal use of CEO Elon Muck (pictured on July 8)
Afshar, pictured near the Tesla Road exit on Texas 130, is expected to part ways with the firm, likely through a leave of absence
Afshar is regarded as Musk’s ‘fixer’ and would often be called in to correct kinks in Tesla’s operations.
‘I focus on where there’s a problem, so a lot of firefighting. If there’s an issue, that’s where I am,’ he said during a 2019 interview at the University of California at Irvine.
‘Usually when people see me they’re not always happy, because it means there’s a problem.’
Afshar has been a member of Tesla’s Office of the CEO since 2017. He has held several roles at the company, according to his LinkedIn, with his most recent job titled listed as a cowboy hat emoji.
The executive was also in charge of overseeing the construction of Giga Texas and was later tasked with supervising production at the plant.
Additionally, Afshar has addressed non-production related concerns pertaining to the company.
Afshar is regarded as Musk’s ‘fixer’ and would often be called in to correct kinks in Tesla operations. He was also in charge of overseeing the construction of the Giga Texas plant (pictured) in Austin and then tasked with supervising production at the plant
Early last year, when the coronavirus vaccine rollout was in its beginning stages, Afshar wrote California’s lead epidemiologist to relay that a Tesla board member had requested to assist with shot distribution.
This year, he aided in the firm’s recruitment process by offering plant tours to University of Texas students.
He also appeared on stage at Tesla’s Cyber Rodeo event in April, where he received a personal thank you from the company’s billionaire CEO.
Before working for Tesla, Afshar held engineering and management roles at St. Jude Medical Inc. and its acquirer, Abbott Laboratories.
Abbott came under fire earlier this week after its Michigan baby formula plant suffered a bacterial outbreak that killed two infants, resulting in a facility shutdown that fueled a nationwide formula shortage.
Tesla reported higher-than-expected quarterly profits of $2.27 per share on Wednesday, a 25 percent increase from analysts’ estimated profits. Tesla shares traded at $815.12 on Thursday
Tesla reported higher-than-expected quarterly profits of $2.27 per share on Wednesday, a 25 percent increase from analysts’ estimated profits.
The EV maker promised a ‘record-breaking second half’ to the year and reiterated its goal of 50 percent average annual growth in vehicle deliveries over a multi-year horizon, but did not give specific targets for 2022 deliveries in results materials.
Tesla’s automotive gross margin fell to 27.9 percent, down from a year earlier and the preceding quarter, amid inflationary pressure.
The company has raised prices of its cars several times this year to cope with higher costs of lithium used in batteries and aluminum used for the body, along with other raw materials.
Musk has said, however, that Tesla would drop prices when inflation cools.
Despite its profits, Tesla is bracing for a potential recession and mounting competition from rivals.
The above chart shows Tesla’s quarterly key metrics dating back to Q3 2019
It also faces challenges of significantly boosting production in the second half, after China’s COVID-19 lockdowns hit production of the company and its suppliers.
Total revenue fell to $16.93 billion in the second quarter from $18.76 billion a quarter earlier, ending its streak of posting record revenue in recent quarters, as it struggled to meet demand for its electric cars due to a shutdown of its Shanghai factory and production challenges at new plants.
Analysts were expecting revenue of $17.10 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Musk previously said Tesla’s new factories in Texas and Berlin were struggling to boost production, calling them ‘gigantic money furnaces’ which are losing billions of dollars.
The entrepreneur also said he had ‘a super bad feeling about the economy’ in June and began layoffs.
Tesla also revealed it has converted approximately 75 percent of its bitcoin purchases into fiat currency, which added $936 million of cash to its balance sheet. Bitcoin stumbled late on Wednesday by as much as 0.5 percent after news broke of Tesla’s sale. It later regained losses and was last up 0.21 percent at $23,301.87
Tesla also revealed it has converted approximately 75 percent of its bitcoin purchases into fiat currency, which added $936 million of cash to its balance sheet.
The company had announced its investments in bitcoin early last year, and Musk said last May that Tesla will not be selling any bitcoin.
Tesla also accepted bitcoin as a form of payment for less than two months before stopping in May 2021.
Musk has said the company could restart accepting bitcoin once it conducts due diligence on the amount of renewable energy needed to mine the currency.
The SpaceX CEO has been an outspoken supporter of cryptocurrency. His statements on the future of the crypto space or disclosures about his ownership of digital assets often boost the price of dogecoin and bitcoin.
Meanwhile, Musk has abandoned his $44 billion takeover of Twitter, citing issues with fake accounts on the platform.
The fallout with Twitter became more heated Tuesday after the social media giant accused the billionaire of ‘attempted sabotage’ after he pulled the plug on his bid.
Musk said earlier this month he no longer wanted to buy Twitter, claiming the firm had failed to uphold its side of the merger agreement by not disclosing enough information on fake accounts.
But the platform is suing him to force him to complete the deal.
Twitter filed the lawsuit (above) on Tuesday in Delaware Chancery Court and will look forward to October for the expected start of the trial
Twitter lawyer Bill Savitt of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, said Tuesday: ‘It’s attempted sabotage. He is doing his best to run Twitter down.’
‘He’s doing his best to create jeopardy for Twitter, is doing his best to create exposure for Twitter, and he’s doing that as a way to try and get out of the contract he promised to consummate.’
Musk has made no secret of his criticism of Twitter, firing off tweets bashing the platform’s restrictions on free speech and failure to clamp down on fake accounts.
In a war of words, lawyers for the San Francisco-based firm told a US court to fast-track its trial against Musk to September and said the takeover uncertainty is harming the platform ‘every hour of every day.’
But lawyers for Musk, who said the social media giant is seeking a ‘warp speed’ trial, called for the courtroom showdown to take place next February.
Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick of the Court of Chancery in Delaware largely granted Twitter’s wish as she set a five-day trial in October.