Tesla co-founder JB Straubel, who left the company a few years ago, is coming back to Tesla as a board member.

JB Straubel was a co-founder at Tesla and the company’s longtime Chief Technology Officer until he left in 2019 to launch Redwood Materials, which is helping create a North American battery supply chain.

After Elon Musk, he was the most well-known executive at the company and was widely credited for helping give Tesla a technology edge when it came to batteries and power electronics.

It was a big loss for the company when he decided to leave, but now we learn that he is returning – though in a non-executive role.

In its SEC filing for its upcoming annual shareholder meeting, Tesla disclosed that Hiromichi Mizuno, the head of Japan Government Pension Investment Fund, is not going to seek re-election on Tesla’s board and instead, the company’s board is nominating Straubel:

Hiromichi Mizuno, a Class I director, will not stand for re-election to the Board when his current term ends at the 2023 Annual Meeting. Accordingly, the Board has nominated JB Straubel to succeed Mr. Mizuno as a Class I director. Mr. Straubel joined Tesla in 2004, and spent 14 years as our Chief Technology Officer, where he played a key role in our battery cell design, and engineering and production. Mr. Straubel also led the construction and concept of Gigafactory Nevada and the production ramp of our Model 3. After his departure from Tesla in 2019, Mr. Straubel founded Redwood Materials Inc. (“Redwood”), which is dedicated to building a circular supply chain to power a sustainable world and accelerate the reduction of fossil fuels. We believe that Mr. Straubel’s extensive operational experience in senior leadership at the Company, combined with his engineering expertise and passion for cleantech, will make him an important asset in our mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.

Tesla shareholders will have the opportunity to vote on Straubel joining the board next month during the annual shareholders meeting.

Musk has had bad words about virtually all other official Tesla co-founders (and there are 5 total) except for Straubel – even after he left the automaker.

Electrek’s Take

That’s awesome news. Obviously, it hasn’t happened yet, but I think it’s a done deal. JB was universally appreciated at Tesla, as far as I’m aware. The same goes for the shareholders.

It’s not a given, but it would be interesting if it also leads to closer links between Tesla and Redwood, which is making incredible progress in deploying battery material processing capacity in North America.

Either way, it is hard to argue against the fact that JB is aligned with Tesla’s mission and should be a great addition to the board.

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