Instead of tapping a seasoned industry veteran for leadership, a disruptor might get more expertise by relying on a fellow disruptor.
Faraday Future, a Los Angeles enterprise financed by Beijing media mogul Jia Yueting, is determined to get up and running in the electric-vehicle market with autonomous-drive technology as quickly as possible.
Although Yueting has revealed little about the venture, its product or his role, Faraday this month announced its plan to invest $1 billion on a full-blown vehicle manufacturing plant in Nevada that will employ 4,500 people.
To pull the project off, Faraday will rely heavily on senior managers who helped establish one of the industry's other big, fast-moving disruptors: Tesla Motors. Faraday has recruited Dag Reckhorn as its vice president of global manufacturing. Reckhorn was formerly director of manufacturing for the Tesla Model S. Alan Cherry, formerly senior director of human resources at Tesla, is now vice president of HR at Faraday. Tesla's former director of purchasing, Tom Wessner, has been named vice president of Faraday's supply chain. And Nick Sampson, director of vehicle and chassis engineering at Tesla, has been named senior vice president of r&d and engineering at Faraday.
Faraday also recruited as its head of design Richard Kim, who helped BMW get into EVs as lead designer on the i3 and i8 projects.
"We see an opportunity to advance the automotive industry, an industry that has barely changed in the last 100 years," Sampson says, explaining his and his colleagues' attraction to the Faraday startup. "Starting with a blank slate has given us the opportunity to attract top talent. The type of individual who is attracted to an opportunity like this is highly creative, ambitious, and these people want to make a difference.
"At a large company," he says, "it is difficult to make a meaningful contribution because the plans are already set and people are engineering around carryover parts and old processes. Our team works tirelessly because they are passionate and can see they are making a meaningful contribution to shaping the future direction of the company."