Musk: “Please be on the alert for anything that’s not in the best interests of our company.”
SAN FRANCISCO — A disgruntled Tesla Inc. employee broke into the company’s manufacturing operating system and sent highly sensitive data to unknown third parties, according to an email Elon Musk sent to staff.
The worker, who had been denied a promotion, did “quite extensive and damaging sabotage” to Tesla’s operations, Musk wrote in the memo late Sunday, which was reported in full by CNBC. While a spokesman declined to comment, an employee who asked not to be identified confirmed he received the email.
Tesla is conducting an in-depth investigation into the matter, including whether the employee was acting alone, with others at the company or with any outside organizations, Musk wrote.
“As you know, there are a long list of organizations that want Tesla to die,” Musk said. He referenced Wall Street short sellers “who have already lost billions of dollars,” oil and gas companies that “don’t love” to see solar power and electric cars advancing, and automakers that produce gasoline and diesel vehicles. “If they’re willing to cheat so much about emissions, maybe they’re willing to cheat in other ways?” he said.
Musk’s email about sabotage comes as Tesla races to ramp up production of its mission critical Model 3 sedan to 5,000 cars a week. Last week, Musk announced that he was reorganizing the company and reducing Tesla’s workforce by 9 percent in a bid for profitability. More than 3,000 workers lost their jobs, and Tesla’s WARN notice filed with the state of California revealed that over 500 employees in Fremont and Palo Alto were dismissed.
A day later, Musk invoked a late tech titan in urging workers to keep an eye out for any funny business after a fire briefly halted car output. In a “strange incident that was hard to explain,” Musk wrote that a small fire on a manufacturing line had stopped production for several hours.
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