Faraday Future demotes founder as management shakeup continues

Faraday Future, the troubled EV startup turned publicly traded company, has taken more disciplinary action as part of its now concluded internal investigation, including removing founder and former CEO Yueting Jia as an executive officer.

The company said in a securities filing Thursday that Yueting Jia, or YT, will continue in his position as chief product officer and report to the executive chairperson. However, YT’s role will be limited to focusing only on product and mobility ecosystem, internet, AI and advanced R&D technology. He will no longer be an executive officer, the company said in the filing.

It is unclear whether the investigation’s end will let the company file its 2021 annual report on time so that it can comply with Nasdaq regulations without the risk of getting delisted.

Faraday Future, which has had a long string of controversies since its founding in 2014, became a publicly traded company in July 2021 after merging with Property Solutions Acquisition Corp. Trouble cropped up just months later when a short seller report by J Capital alleged that Faraday Future had made a number of inaccurate statements. An internal review conducted by a special committee of directors and which tapped the expertise of a forensic accounting firm and independent legal counsel soon followed.

As the result of its most recent findings, Faraday’s board has placed Matthias Aydt, senior vice president of business development and board member, on probation as an executive officer for a six-month period effective immediately. During his period, he will remain as a non-independent member of the board. The company also said that there will be other “disciplinary actions and terminations of employment with respect to other company employees (none of whom is an executive officer).” The company did not name those employees.

Jiawei (Jerry) Wang, the company’s VP of Global Capital Markets who had been suspended, has resigned, according to the filing.

Late last month, Faraday Future said several executives had been subpoenaed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as part of an investigation into inaccurate statements made to investors. That subpoena came nearly two months after an initial finding from Faraday Future’s internal investigation that determined employees made inaccurate statements to investors and that its “corporate culture failed to sufficiently prioritize compliance.” That internal probe prompted Faraday Future to revamp its board, cut the pay of two top executives and suspend at least one other.

The announcement today is in addition to that earlier action.

Faraday Future is one of a number EV SPACs to be investigated by the SEC over the past 18 months.