Redwood Materials, a pioneering battery-recycling startup, has once again made waves by securing the talents of Colin Campbell, formerly Tesla’s vice president of powertrain engineering, who will assume the role of chief technology officer. The company, headquartered in Carson City, Nevada, was established in 2017 by JB Straubel, a notable figure in the Tesla journey and one of its co-founders, who had been serving as Tesla’s Chief Technology Officer at the time. Straubel’s departure from Tesla in 2019 marked his commitment to focus exclusively on driving the growth of Redwood Materials.
Colin Campbell, with a remarkable 17-year tenure at Tesla, recently announced his transition to Redwood on his LinkedIn profile. He conveyed deep gratitude to his Tesla colleagues and described his time at the electric vehicle powerhouse as a “once-in-a-lifetime experience.” At Redwood, Campbell’s mission is set to continue within the electrification sphere, albeit with a novel emphasis on tackling challenges earlier in the value chain. His role at Redwood will be instrumental in fostering the widespread adoption of electric vehicles and clean energy solutions by addressing key issues at their root.
Redwood Materials’ core mission revolves around creating a circular battery supply chain, a monumental task that involves transforming end-of-life electric vehicle batteries and factory scraps into essential raw materials and components for crafting new battery cells. Notably, the company has set its sights on localizing this supply chain, aiming to mend the current fragmented system by producing critical battery components at a significant scale within the United States. A distinctive aspect of Redwood’s approach lies in its commitment to integrating an ever-increasing proportion of recycled content into its manufacturing processes, a move that aligns with sustainability and environmental responsibility.
In essence, Redwood’s operations align seamlessly with the sustainable vision that has characterized Tesla’s mission from the outset. The recycling of batteries and incorporation of sustainably sourced materials speak to the broader commitment toward reducing the ecological footprint of electric vehicles and their associated industries.
Campbell’s departure from Tesla is part of a series of changes within the company’s leadership. Notably, the recent news of Tesla’s finance chief stepping down and the subsequent appointment of Vaibhav Taneja, who now holds dual responsibilities as Chief Financial Officer and Head of Accounting, highlights the dynamic nature of the electric vehicle giant’s management landscape.
Redwood’s consistent ability to attract top-tier talent from Tesla underscores its own growing influence in the clean energy sector. The company’s operational chief, Kevin Kassekert, previously held a significant position at Tesla as Vice President of People and Places. This trend of talent migration is reinforced by data from LinkedIn, which indicates that over 120 individuals who once contributed to Tesla’s endeavors are now integral members of the Redwood team.
JB Straubel’s journey is a remarkable one, from his co-founding role at Tesla to his current position as an independent director on Tesla’s board, a position he was elected to by the automaker’s shareholders earlier this year. While Tesla has not yet responded to inquiries regarding these developments, Redwood’s ongoing efforts are undoubtedly shaping the future of battery recycling, sustainable materials sourcing, and the broader landscape of clean energy technology.