Former Tesla SVP Drew Baglino is selling $181.5 million worth of stock

In an aerial view, brand new Tesla cars sit parked in a lot at the Tesla Fremont Factory on April 24, 2024 in Fremont, California.

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Former Tesla executive Drew Baglino, who announced his resignation earlier this month, sold shares in the electric vehicle company worth around $181.5 million, according to a filing on Thursday with the SEC.

Baglino, who joined Tesla in 2006, is selling about 1.14 million of his shares, the filing said, listing an “approximate date of sale” of April 25, and describing it as an exercise of stock options.

Tesla announced on April 15 that it’s laying off 10% of its global workforce, following a drop in first-quarter deliveries and a steep slide in the stock price. That day, Baglino and fellow company veteran Rohan Patel said they were leaving the company.

Baglino announced his departure in a statement posted to X.

“I made the difficult decision to move on from Tesla after 18 years yesterday,” he wrote. “I am so thankful to have worked with and learned from the countless incredibly talented people at Tesla over the years.”

Baglino began as an engineer and climbed the ranks, most recently serving as senior vice president of powertrain and energy engineering, a job he’d held since 2016. Reporting directly to Musk, Baglino was seen as the unofficial chief of operations by many colleagues.

Prior to the latest sale, Baglino had unloaded about $4 million worth of shares in two transactions this year — one in late February and the other in early April, filings show. In each case, he sold 10,500 shares, exercising stock options in both.

During earnings calls and other major company events, including a presentation of Tesla’s “Master Plan part 3” in the spring of 2023, Baglino had become a familiar voice and face to shareholders, often discussing mining, battery manufacturing and performance.

Baglino didn’t respond to requests for comment. Tesla also didn’t provide a comment.

Baglino’s resigned as Tesla appeared to embark on a major strategic shift.

Musk said on the company’s earnings call this week that while Tesla still intends to produce affordable, new model electric cars in 2025, investors should focus more on Tesla’s “autonomy roadmap.” Tesla said it plans to unveil a robotaxi, or CyberCab, design on Aug. 8.

Musk also touted Tesla’s investments in AI infrastructure and the company’s potential to finally deliver self-driving vehicle technology, robotaxis, a driverless ride-hailing service, and a “sentient” humanoid robot. He even told doubters to stay away from the stock.

“If somebody doesn’t believe Tesla’s going to solve autonomy, I think they should not be an investor in the company,” Musk said on the call.

Tesla’s share price, which was down about 40% for the year prior to the earnings report, jumped 18% in the two trading days after Musk’s commentary, closing on Thursday at $170.18.

Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi is among the skeptics. In an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street,” Sacconaghi questioned whether the affordable EVs Musk promised will “really be new models, or tweaks on existing models.” He also said that competitors, notably Waymo, already have robotaxi services on the road, while Tesla is still grappling with autonomous vehicle research and development.

Tesla reported a 9% drop in first-quarter revenue, its steepest year-over-year decline since 2012, due to declining demand and increased global competition. The company also reported a 55% drop in net income in the quarter.

While Musk said he expects the second quarter to be better than the first, the company hasn’t issued guidance for the year.

At the end of the earnings call, Martin Viecha, Tesla’s vice president of investor relations, announced that he, too, was resigning.

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