JB Straubel could return to Tesla – as a board member this time

Tesla has named JB Straubel, the company’s former CTO who now runs his own startup Redwood Materials, as the next independent board member.

The company said in a regulatory filing Thursday that Straubel, if elected by shareholders (which is almost a certainty), would take the place vacated by Hiromichi Mizuno, the former chief investment officer of Japan’s $1.5 trillion pension fund. Mizuno joined the board and its audit committee in 2020 and will not stand again.

Straubel, who joined Tesla in 2004 and served as CTO for 14 years, was widely seen as the quiet hand behind controversial CEO Elon Musk. Straubel’s role at Tesla cannot be underestimated. The executive was responsible for some of the company’s most important technologies, particularly around batteries. Its low-key but consistent presence as well as its keen sense of technology provided stability even when its CEO was embroiled in controversy.

During his tenure at Tesla, Straubel led the construction and concept of Gigafactory Nevada and the production ramp for its Model 3 sedan.

straubel left Tesla in 2019. Drew Baglino, vice president of technology, has assumed the role. At the time, Tesla said Straubel would remain in a senior advisory role.

After Straubel left the automaker, he embarked on scaling Redwood Materials, a battery materials supplier and recycler founded in 2017. Carson City, Nevada-based Redwood Materials has since stalled. hundreds of millions in venture capital and locked in multiple high-profile customer deals with companies like Panasonic and Amazon.

Tesla’s shareholders’ meeting is scheduled for May 16.

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