Tesla engineering VP Colin Campbell joins Redwood Materials as CTO

Pallets of depleted lithium-ion batteries at JB Straubel’s Redwood Materials are ready for recycling.

Source: CNBC

Redwood Materials, the battery-recycling startup founded by Tesla board member JB Straubel, recently nabbed Tesla’s vice president of powertrain engineering, Colin Campbell, to serve as chief technology officer.

Based in Carson City, Nevada, Redwood was founded by Straubel in 2017 while he was still serving as Tesla’s CTO. Straubel resigned from Tesla in 2019 to focus on Redwood.

Campbell announced the move on LinkedIn on Monday, capping a 17-year tenure working for Elon Musk’s electric vehicle company in a variety of engineering and leadership roles. He thanked his former colleagues at Tesla for a “once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

“At Redwood, I will continue to work on electrification — but this time, ensuring broad EV and clean energy adoption by solving problems further upstream!” Campbell wrote. “Redwood’s mission is to create a circular battery supply chain, localizing the current fragmented system by creating critical battery components at scale in the US for the first time — and from an ever-increasing amount of recycled content.”

Redwood turns end-of-life electric vehicle batteries and scrap from car factories into raw materials and components to make new battery cells. Straubel told CNBC in February that the company also blends “sustainably mined material” in its manufacturing processes.

Campbell’s departure from Tesla follows an announcement earlier this month that the company’s finance chief, Zach Kirkhorn, was stepping down, to be replaced by Tesla accounting chief Vaibhav Taneja, who now holds both the chief financial officer and accounting role, according to Tesla’s shareholder disclosure.

Redwood has lured top talent away from Tesla for years. Another executive at Redwood, operating chief Kevin Kassekert, previously served as vice president of people and places at Tesla. More than 120 people currently work at Straubel’s company after previously working for Tesla, according to LinkedIn data.

Straubel, who is credited as a co-founder of Tesla, was elected by the automaker’s shareholders earlier this year to serve as an independent director on the board.

Tesla did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

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