Tesla has snapped up the head of Mercedes-Benz’ Berlin plant. The German union IG Metall said on Wednesday amidst calls for protest.
Reuters reported that the Union did not mention the defecting head, but the plant has been run by Rene Reif, one of the most experienced manufacturing executives at Mercedes-Benz who helped expand manufacturing capacity for Daimler DAIGn.DE in China.
Reif used to be head of engineering and manufacturing at Beijing Benz Automotive Co. Daimler’s Chinese Joint Venture, which has a manufacturing capacity of around 480,000 cars and started building the electric Mercedes-Benz EQC last year, according to the report.
Tesla has been working on its plan to establish a Gigafactory in the outskirts of Berlin following its push to grab a market share in Europe. The American carmaker did not respond to inquiry but developments in and outside the company confirm it’s true.
A source told Reuters last month that a Tesla manager who oversaw the construction of the American electric vehicle manufacturer at the Gruenheide plant, had left his position.
Daimler said on Wednesday that Reif, who is managing its Mercedes-Benz Berlin plant, which makes powertrains, is voluntarily going into early retirement at the end of the year.
The German Union plans to stage a save-the-traditional industry protest, over concern that the traditional carmakers are cutting investment into combustion engine technologies as regulators clamp down on vehicle emission amid the strains of COVID-19 that seen decline in vehicle demands.
Reif’s decision to leave will put the future of the plant in jeopardy and IG Metall said there would be a protest in front of the Mercedes factory on Thursday and called on Daimler to present solutions that would help to guarantee the future of the plant, according to Reuters.
The union said Daimler managers had outlined cost savings plans and union officials as the fear for the plant’s future grows.
Daimler said Clemenz Dobrawa, who currently heads up the Mercedes-Benz battery manufacturing plant in Kamenz, had taken over leadership of the Mercedes-Benz plants Hamburg and Berlin earlier this month.
“Thank to his activity in Kamenz, he brings important know-how for the transformation toward electromobility,” Daimler said, adding that the Berlin plant will be restructured to serve an ‘Electric First’ strategy.
Tesla’s move underscores a growing trend of companies luring best brains from rival firms across industries. Big companies like Amazon and Apple are up in the table. Amazon has poached prominent people from Microsoft, Google, VMware and so on.
But the e-commerce giant has a strict rule forbidding its employees from joining rival firms. Recently, the company sent a stark warning to some of its employees thinking about defecting to other companies: ‘Do so and we might sue’.
There has been a growing number of lawsuits against defector employees, especially in the tech industry, prompting many companies to enact policies that limit workers’ rights to join rivals.
Companies are becoming more aware of the danger of passing their tech idea or trade secrets to their rival companies, or their weaknesses being exploited by others as a result of employee’s defection.
In December last year, Lafarge Africa Plc., a cement producing multinational company, announced the resignation of its CEO, Michael Pucheros, which took effect on January 17th 2020.
A few days after the announcement, rival company, Dangote Cement, announced that Pucheros will be resuming as its CEO effective February 1, 2020.
About nine months after Pucheros joined Dangote Cement, the company posted astounding earnings that defied the scourge of COVID-19 in Q3 report.
“I am delighted to report that Dangote Cement experienced its strongest quarter in terms of EBITDA and strongest third quarter in term of volumes. Despite a challenging environment, Group volumes for the nine months were up 6.6% and Group EBITDA was up 17.1%, at a 46.6% margin,” the company said in its Q3 report.
This unimaginable growth means that Lafarge’s market share has been depleted, and the brain behind it is Pucheros, a man who once took the company to great heights.
Tesla has the same game plan for its Berlin’s car plant. If the company will beat one of its greatest rivals, it will need an insider who knows his way around the market, and what it takes to win.