Faraday Future never had a distinct CEO, and it would never confirm it was even looking for one. But an executive regarded internally as FF’s “acting CEO” has reportedly left the company, just days before its big production car debut at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Citing unnamed sources, The Verge reported Thursday that Ding Lei, a top executive at Chinese tech giant LeEco — the so-called “strategic partner” of FF — was also considered FF’s “acting global CEO,” and has departed from both companies.
We’ve reached out to FF for comment and will update the story if we hear back.
The relationship between LeEco and FF is a bit confusing and worth noting, once again. As we reported earlier this month, LeEco is a Chinese tech giant owned by Jia Yuentig, the principal backer who launched what’s considered the “Netflix of China.” The companies refer to themselves as “strategic partners,” but it has never been clear how they’re separate.
There’s more. From our story:
Just as well, Faraday Future employees said their company never got paid for the work, according to the story. At best, Faraday Future’s place in Jia Yueting’s auto empire seems to be that it has a more “American” face than LeEco, that it has more hype, and that it seems like it has its own money.
Turns out, LeEco’s founder and chairman, Jia Yuenting, named Ding as FF’s “acting global CEO” until a permanent hire was made. That’s according to the report from The Verge, which didn’t receive comment from any party involved.
Though Ding wasn’t officially an FF executive, news that he was helping run the company, and has since stepped down, is only the latest in a string of high-level departures at the automaker. Last week, the company’s most prestigious hire, Marco Mattiacci, left the company, along with Joerg Sommer, vice president for product marketing and growth.
Sources close to the company told Jalopnik that FF should be able to make it through 2017, as long as funding is received from Jia. But with only a few days until the automaker’s reveal at CES, the latest departure here is only a further sign of FF’s organizational malaise.