Faraday hires former BMW exec as global CEO in restructuring
ALEXA ST. JOHN
The announcement Tuesday comes just days after news of Faraday’s restructuring plan, which the company said began late last year.
Chinese entrepreneur Jia Yueting has stepped down as CEO to assume the role of chief product & user officer. Yueting founded Faraday Future in May 2014.
Before joining Faraday Future, Breitfeld co-founded and was chairman and CEO of Chinese EV maker Byton. He also had a brief stint as CEO of Iconiq Motors this year.
Faraday Future, which has ambitions to compete against Tesla Inc., said in a statement Tuesday that Breitfeld “will lead FF in developing industry-leading, forward-looking technology and products, enhancing organizational efficiencies and competencies, as well as accelerating ongoing fund-raising activities.”
Yueting will oversee artificial intelligence, product definition, user experience and the overall implementation of the Internet ecosystem model, according to the company. Yueting is establishing a debt repayment trust to repay his remaining guarantor debts to Faraday Future, according to the company.
“We are hopeful that our current and future employees will see the many benefits of our change of governance structure,” the company said in a statement last week regarding the restructuring.
The startup’s growth has been at a standstill amid changes in leadership and financial struggles.
Faraday Future was involved in a legal dispute over funding with its main investor, Evergrande Health Industry Group, the health care subsidiary of China’s second-largest property developer, China Evergrande Group. The dispute was settled in 2018, but it stalled Faraday Future’s efforts to produce the FF 91.
The company was originally set to begin deliveries in the first half of 2019. Faraday aims to start production of the 1,050-hp FF 91 in Hanford, Calif., next year and follow that with its mass-market offering, the FF 81, in 2021, Bloomberg reported.
The resignations of Nick Sampson, one of the startup’s three co-founders, and Peter Savagian, senior vice president of technology and product development, came last year amid reports of financial woes that Sampson said were making the company “effectively insolvent.”
The startup has been working to secure funding as of this year. The9, a Shanghai online game developer and operator, and Faraday Future signed a deal in which The9 Ltd. agreed to invest up to $600 million in a partnership that will produce EVs to sell in China, Faraday Future said.
With the agreement, the startup will make contributions including its usage rights on a piece of land in China for electric car manufacturing. The startup said it also is seeking a global chairman.