Electric car start-up Faraday Future clips wings of founder Jia Yueting following fraud allegation probe
- Jia Yueting will, however, continue to serve as Faraday Future’s ‘chief product and user ecosystem officer’, filing shows
- Faraday Future launched an internal probe last year after a short-selling research firm claimed the start-up misrepresented the number of pre-orders for its FF 91 luxury SUV following its merger with a SPAC
The electric vehicle start-up is also putting one of its longest-serving executives on probation while another has resigned, according to filing on Thursday.
Jia will continue to serve as Faraday Future’s “chief product and user ecosystem officer” – a position he has held since relinquishing the CEO role in 2019 to former BMW executive Carsten Breitfeld. Moving forward, his work will be limited to the company’s “product and mobility ecosystem” and its “internet, artificial intelligence and advanced R&D technology”. Faraday Future also said that Jia will no longer serve as an executive officer.
The Los Angeles-based company said that Matthias Aydt, a board member and senior vice-president of business development and product definition, will be placed on probation for six months. Aydt, who started with the company in 2016, will keep his board seat during the probationary period.
Jiawei Wang, the vice-president of global capital markets, is also resigning. Wang, who is Jia’s nephew, has been suspended without pay since January 31, shortly before Faraday Future announced an earlier round of measures based on the findings of the internal investigation.
Faraday Future said on Thursday that it took other “disciplinary actions” and fired some other employees who are not executive officers, without providing details.
Faraday Future launched the internal probe last year after a short-selling research firm published a report claiming the start-up misrepresented the number of pre-orders for its luxury SUV, the FF 91, following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company.
The start-up said in February that it had also discovered certain executives had misled investors about Jia’s role in running the day-to-day operations, resulting in a 25 per cent pay cut for Breitfeld and the removal of chairman Brian Krolicki to a regular seat on the board.
The company disclosed in March that it is also being investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission in relation to the allegations made in the short-seller report.