Faraday Future (FF), a California-based electric vehicle maker of China origin, said Wednesday it has hired former BMW executive Carsten Breitfeld as global CEO.
The company’s founder Jia Yueting, a Chinese entrepreneur, will step down from the CEO position to assume the role of Chief Product & User Officer, it said in a press statement.
Jia is a high-profile Chinese entrepreneur with a mixed track record in launching startups. Before hopping onto the EV bandwagon, he co-founded LeTV.com, one of the first batch of Chinese video streaming services. LeTV.com has long slid into oblivion over the past years, with latecomers like iQiyi dominating the Chinese streaming market. Trading of LeTV.com’s shares on Shenzhen’s ChiNext market has been suspended since May after its net asset turned negative.
Jia himself has also been flagged by the Supreme People’s Court of China as a defaulter for failing to pay back loans in time. FF has been running low on cash for a long time to the degree so that it cannot mass produce its first-ever automobile FF 91.
Breitfeld, an auto industry veteran, led BMW’s i8 vehicle program as group vice president, FF said in the press release, adding that he is also an entrepreneur who co-founded and served as Chairman and CEO of Byton, another Chinese EV startup.
It seems that this is not the first time Breitfeld receives an invitation to steer a Chinese EV startup. After leaving Byton, local media wrote that he served as CEO at ICONIQ, one of the many Chinese EV startups. He represented the company to attend the Shanghai auto show which was held between April 15 and April 25.
Interestingly, a few days prior to the auto show, Byton told KrASIA that Breitfeld was well in position as chairman, rebutting reports of his resignation.
FF said Breitfeld will take on the executive leadership of FF as it begins production of FF 91 and will manage the development of the FF 81 model.
Byton and ICONIQ have not responded to KrASIA‘s request for comments on Breitfeld’s new role.