Tesla had employed a total of 150 Apple ex-employees now working in the engineering and law department. These ex-employees had reportedly crossed fence attracted To Tesla’s cars and its CEO Elon Musk’s Steve Job-like personality.
Apple tried hard to recruit as many Tesla’s employee but failed to do so according to Musk. The company tried offering Tesla employees with $250,000 signing bonuses and 60 percent salary increases but with little success.
“Apple tries very hard to recruit from Tesla. But so far they’ve actually recruited very few people,” Musk told Bloomberg.
With the rate that Tesla was able to recruit people from Apple, the company now has all the advantage in developing cars in the years to come, auto industry analyst at Morgan Stanley Adam Jonas told Bloomberg.
“It’s almost an unfair advantage. As software goes from 10 percent of the value of the car to 60 over 10 years, that disadvantage for traditional carmakers will intensify,” Jonas said. According to Jonas, Musk finds it easier to hire people from Apple because they understand “nerd software coding stuff,” in a completely geek level.
The compatibility found by ex-Apple employees with Musk maybe because the CEO is admittedly “in love” with Jobs, one Tesla insider told Bloomberg. This was echoed with what Musk said: “From a design philosophy, Apple is relatively closely aligned.”
Former Apple employees now with Tesla include Doug Field who previously worked on the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and the iMac. Field is now vice president for Tesla’s car program. Field said that he sees Tesla as an opportunity to be part of building the best cars in the world with an added bonus of working for “one of the most innovative companies in Silicon Valley.”
Tesla’s cars also attracted Brennan Boblett, a former Apple designer, and Joe Nuxol, freelancer design consultant who had also previously worked with one of Apple’s project. The same goes for Tesla’s very first ex-Apple employee George Blankenship.
“Everything Tesla did was unique for the auto industry,” Blankenship said.
Tesla’s vice president for product excellence Rich Heley, associate general counsel Lynn Miller, director of training programs Beth Loeb and director of power electronics Nick Kalayjian were all foremer employees of Apple.