Tesla CTO and co-founder JB Straubel has sold around $ 3 million in TSLA shares after exercising a lot of options. We also learned that his presence in the Palo Alto office has been "scant" in the last 6-8 months.
Straubel has been with Tesla since the beginning.
Actually, he is credited with incorporating Elon Musk on board and, therefore, technically predates Musk in the company. However, Musk also later became a co-founder because of his crucial early financial contribution to the company from the earliest days.
For years, he has been leading several important technology programs for Tesla, especially related to its battery and power electronics.
Two sources who have worked with Straubel recently told Electrek that the presence of Straubel at Tesla's headquarters in Palo Alto has been "scant" in the last 6-8 months.
One source even thought he was on leave, but the executive made an appearance on Tesla's last earnings call last month.
We asked Tesla about the situation, but the automaker did not respond to our inquiry.
Today, Tesla also filed with the SEC to reveal that Straubel has exercised 15,000 options and sold them on Tuesday for approximately $ 2.8 million:
The options were not going to expire until 2022. Straubel still owns more than 300,000 shares of Tesla. Straubel, being an officer of the company, would require disclosure if it were really on a true leave of absence.
Shot of Electrek
Of all the things that happened at Tesla in recent months, learning from two reliable sources that JB was becoming increasingly scarce lately was definitely one of the most worrying to me.
It always seemed to be an important reason behind Tesla's technological leadership in the EV space.
I expected an explanation from Tesla, but they did not offer an answer.
However, there could be many good reasons why you do not see much in these days.
You could be working more outside of other Tesla locations, such as Gigafactory 1 or the Los Angeles design studio or some Skunk Works location. Or, you could be working on another project with a small, personal team, such as the new mystery material recycling company that has been linked to it and Tesla.
Or it could be unrelated to work and could be going back for personal reasons.
Who knows? But his absence was important enough to worry some people in Tesla who spoke to us.
We will try to monitor the situation in the coming months and inform you. If you have more information, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.