June 16, 2024

Mikayla Macfarlane

Serving technology better

Elon Musk’s Tesla rehires Supercharger workers, weeks after they were fired

2 min read
Black and white headshot of Elon Musk's side profile on a background of white with stylised blue lines going across and a Tesla logo

After Elon Musk made a shock decision to let the full Tesla Supercharger team go, some of the almost 500-member-strong team are returning after being re-hired.

According to people familiar with the matter, who have spoken with publisher Bloomberg, the director of charging for North America, Max de Zegher, is one of the employees who has returned.

It isn’t clear how many laid-off workers have been rehired. The reason behind the backtracking of the Tesla CEO isn’t yet known either, but the decision to let go of the Supercharger team came as a major surprise to many.

This team is responsible for managing and developing electric vehicle charging stations throughout the United States.

Tesla cutting costs – and team members

With pressure from rival car manufacturers, Musk was reported as saying Tesla had to be “absolutely hardcore” in cutting costs.

When the news that a 10% reduction in headcount was needed, Drew Baglino, chief of Tesla’s Powertrain, and Rohan Patel, Head of Business Development, handed in their resignations.

Continuing in his memo on the task of slimming down the electric car maker, as first reported by The Information, the CEO said: “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.”

Within the same time frame, Elon Musk took to the X platform (formerly Twitter) to explain there are still plans “to grow the Supercharger network, just at a slower pace for new locations and more focus on 100% uptime and expansion of existing locations.”

While the firing and then re-hiring has come as a surprise, it’s not the first time the entrepreneur has walked back on his decisions.

In 2019, he had planned for Tesla to close most of its stores and move the focus predominantly online. This left his sales team stunned, but just ten days later – when landlords wouldn’t allow for any leeway on leases – the CEO overturned his decision.

It happened in late 2022 too, when he laid off around half the team at Twitter. Soon after, dozens were asked to return.

Featured Image: Photo by J Dean on Unsplash

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