Another founding executive has left the troubled electric car startup Faraday Future, Jalopnik has learned. Pontus Fontaeus, director of interior design and brand, has left the company, the company confirmed on Friday.
Fontaeus’ departure follows a steady exodus of top-level employees that have also left the company in recent weeks. On Thursday, The Verge reported that Tom Wessner, head of Faraday’s supply chain management, resigned from the company. Wessner was one of five executives initially brought on to run Faraday, The Verge reported.
Fonateus was among the employees to join the fledgling startup early on. Employees viewed him as the creative force behind Farday’s design, handling everything from UI/UX department to interior design. Prior to Faraday, he had a robust career in designing interiors for Volvo, Ferrari and Land Rover.
“This is the job I’ve been training for my whole life,” Fontaeus said of Faraday, in a 2015 interview with DuJour.
“There are some designers who need a brief, a foothold,” Fontaeus told the magazine. “And then there are designers like these who have a pioneer spirit and don’t need a safety net. We’re actually better when we can create from nothing.”
Following the reports of Wessner’s departure Thursday, Faraday announced several hires to the company’s HR, finance and communications department. Fontaeus’ departure wasn’t included in the statement.
“I can confirm that Pontus Fontaeus, Chief Designer of Interiors, left the company,” Faraday spokesperson Morgan Theys told Jalopnik. “Please note that Faraday Future continues to bolster its leadership team with a number of new hires and appointments among its management team.”
The company has been roiled by setbacks since coming onto the scene in 2015. A planned $1 billion factory in North Las Vegas has been abandoned, money problems are chronic, and the turnover rate is rampant. Faraday recently tried to raise $1 billion to secure steadier financial ground, but to no avail. Shortly after, a $14 million emergency loan was secured to build out a smaller factory in California, contingent on putting up its Los Angeles headquarters as collateral.
The financial problems only worsened this summer, when the assets of Faraday’s main financier, LeEco founder Jia Yueting, were frozen by a court in China. The company has been running without a true CEO in place for months, and it has nearly pulled out of its partnership in the Formula E racing circuit to save additional funds.
Faraday has long touted a significant roster of talent, however, so the growing exodus of staff—which The Verge broke down at length Thursday—is another troubling sign for the startup.
One minor bright spot, if it can be called that, is Nevada officials confirmed last month that Faraday had repaid money it received as part of a tax incentive deal to build a factory in the state. That effectively ended the rocky two-year relationship between Nevada and the startup.