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Tesla's head of engineering is officially leaving the company as Elon Musk celebrates Model 3 production milestone

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Doug Field, Tesla’s head of engineering, won’t return to the company after a taking a leave of absence, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Tesla confirmed Field’s departure to Business Insider

“After almost five years at Tesla, Doug Field is moving on,” a Tesla representative said. “We’d like to thank Doug for his hard work over the years and for everything he has done for Tesla.”

On May 11, The Journal reported that Field would take a “six-week sabbatical.” Tesla told The Journal Field was “just taking some time off to recharge and spend time with his family.” At the time, Tesla told The Journal that Field had not left the company, but didn’t specify when Field would return.

Field joined Tesla in 2013 and led production for the Model 3, which the company struggled to ramp up in the months after it was launched in July 2017. In May 2016, CEO Elon Musk said he estimated the company would make between 100,000 and 200,000 Model 3s during the second half of 2017. However, Tesla only made 2,685 Model 3 vehicles in 2017.

In early April, The Information released a report that claimed there was turmoil at the upper levels of Tesla’s management team. The report said Musk had pushed aside Field to assume control of the Model 3 production process.

Musk criticised the story on Twitter in a response to its author, Amir Efrati, while indicating that he had taken control of Model 3 production.

“Can’t believe you’re even writing about this,” Musk wrote. “My job as CEO is to focus on what’s most critical, which is currently Model 3 production. Doug, who I regard as one of the world’s most talented engineering execs, is focused on vehicle engineering.”