In an interesting bit of PR warfare, Volkswagen of Americans announced that it has hired a former program manager at Tesla as the Vice President of Volkswagen North American Region (NAR)-G4.
Why make such an announcement? (Such hiring and headhunting is quite common.) For the propaganda value, I would expect. That said, the person in question — Matthew Renna, formerly a program manager for the Model S and the Model X at Tesla — is no doubt bringing something to the table. I can’t imagine that Volkswagen of America would have made the hire for no reason other than PR.
In his new capacity as Vice President of the NAR-G4 team, Renna will reportedly be managing the company’s Modular Electrification Toolkit (MEB) line — which, if Volkswagen is to be believed, is intended to mass produce electric vehicles to compete with Tesla’s offerings.
The new appointment is effective as of April 16th, reportedly. Renna replaces a Dr Burkhard Huhnke, who reportedly left to “pursue other career opportunities” (for whatever reasons).
Commenting on the news, the CEO of the VW North American Region, Hinrich J Woebcken, stated: “Matt brings an outstanding combination of financial acumen, engineering depth and product program management — all within the electric vehicle space. His experience and leadership will be a tremendous asset as we strengthen our electric vehicle position in North America and we are excited to welcome him to Volkswagen.”
Notably, Renna was closely involved with Tesla’s Autopilot system development, according to the report. Previous to his time at Tesla, the program manager worked at Porsche Motorsport North America and at Honda Performance Development.
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