Faraday Future is currently in the midst of serious financial and executive turmoil. Top leadership is jumping ship as previously secured funding is not quite as secure as previously believed. Now, company co-founder and senior vice president of product R&D and engineering Nick Sampson has stepped down.
Reuters reported Tuesday that Sampson, a former Tesla executive, is the second of three Faraday Future co-founders to step away from the embattled electric automaker. Only CEO Jia Yueting remains and he has a tough fight ahead of him.
Faraday Future recently announced significant layoffs, wage cuts, and a move to ask some employees to take on unpaid leave. Jia himself is only taking in $1 per year as a salary at this time.
Faraday Future completes first pre-production FF91 on August 28, 2018
The current main source of trouble revolves around Faraday's key shareholder, Evergrande Health Industry Group Ltd. There was a plan in place for a $2 billion investment. That potential cash influx led Faraday to go on a hiring spree with hope for the start of production of its first model, the FF91. Evergrande was reportedly set to begin payment on its massive investment and it would start with $700 million to be paid directly up front. That payment hasn't been made, and Evergrande cites unmet obligations on the part of Faraday as the hold up. In response, Faraday Future has started arbitration against Evergrande.
In short, this situation is a mess. Financially, Faraday Future needs that cash to survive and its key shareholder refuses to hand it over. Top leadership sees the writing on the wall and are clearly ready to move on to other projects. Besides Sampson's departure, Faraday also said goodbye to senior vice president Peter Savagian. He was the main engineer behind General Motors' EV1 electric car, and his departure leaves a gaping hole in the product and engineering development side of the company.
Faraday Future has been listing. If arbitration doesn't clean up its financial shortcoming, then this may be the final shot across the bow to sink the ambitious plans of this electric car startup.