The modest EV manufacturer Faraday Future, co-founder Nick Sampson, resigns


(Reuters) – Co-founder of Faraday Future, Nick Sampson, has resigned his post with the Chinese electric vehicle developer. This was the latest blow for the troubled company that experienced "extraordinary financial difficulties".

FILE PHOTO: Nick Sampson, senior vice president of product development and engineering at Faraday Future, speaks during a revelation event for the Faraday Future FF 91 electric car in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 3, 2017. REUTERS / Steve Marcus

Sampson was a senior vice president of product strategy and is the second of three co-founders to step down in just over a year to remain chief executive, Jia Yueting.

His exit announced on Tuesday comes as Faraday gets involved in a bitter lawsuit with its largest shareholder, the Chinese Evergrande Health Industry Group Ltd., after a planned $ 2 billion investment has turned sour.

The company's challenges underscore the challenges faced by EV manufacturers to bring hassle-free cars to market, a feat that even Tesla, the largest US automaker by market value, has struggled to meet.

Faraday Future (FF) left some employees on unpaid leave in December and offered to resign for the same period, the company told Reuters via email.

This move took place a few days after Faraday announced he was planning to lay off workers and pay cuts.

The company said Peter Savagian, his senior vice president of global products and technologies, also resigned.

"Recent measures taken by Evergrande are causing FF to experience extraordinary financial difficulties," Faraday said.

"The investor has interfered with the company's capital planning and prevents FF from using our assets, which results in FF taking some very difficult but necessary action," he added.

Evergrande Health, a unit of the China Evergrande Group, owns 45 percent of Faraday. Evergrande Health was not immediately available for comment.

Faraday is free to request funding from sources other than Evergrande Health. This is clear from a preliminary ruling by an arbitral tribunal in Hong Kong.

However, the ruling is subject to strict conditions and grants Evergrande Health preferential treatment for every new share issue of Faraday.

Faraday, which began in 2014, lost another co-founder Tony Nie last October.

Jia, CEO of Faraday, is best known for launching the technology conglomerate LeEco, which is struggling with too much debt after over-expansion.

Last month, Faraday, with a net loss of $ 340 million, said last month that a pre-production model of its first vehicle, the '91 FF, was prematurely presented to employees on August 29th.

Reporting by Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru and Yilei Sun in Beijing; Writing by Sayantani Ghosh; Arrangement by Shounak Dasgupta and Darren Schuettler

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