QuantumScape loses its head of manufacturing due to mismatch in management style

Celina Mikolajczak, who has held senior roles at Tesla and Panasonic, resigned from QuantumScape less than a year after taking the role of chief manufacturing officer at the solid-state battery company, according to a regulatory filing. Mikolajczak and QuantumScape are separating due to “different management styles between the parties,” the US Securities and Exchange Commission filing states. Mikolajczak will move to an advisory role on the company’s scientific advisory board. She intends to focus her career on developing an entirely US-based battery supply chain, according to the document. QuantumScape shares fell 7.7% to close at $10.15, near its 52-week low of $10. The departure ends a fast and furious relationship between the company and Mikolajczak. A little over a year ago, Mikolajczak took a seat on QuantumScape’s board. She was still vice president of battery technology at Panasonic Energy of North America when she joined the board, and she told TechCrunch at the time that her employer “graciously allowed” her to take the appointment. A month later, QuantumScape announced that Mikolajczak would join the company as vice president of manufacturing engineering beginning in July. She resigned from the board in connection with accepting the offer. In her new role, Mikolajczak was charged with leading the transition of the company’s tooling and manufacturing processes from research and development to production, QuantumScape said in a regulatory filing at the time. The hiring seemed to be a blessing for both parties. QuantumScape, which had risen to prominence after Volkswagen Group invested more than $500 million, reached an agreement in September 2020 to merge with a special purpose acquisition company, Kensington Capital Acquisition Corp. The capital raised through the markets audiences would give QuantumScape the boost it needs. necessary to market solid-state batteries for electric vehicles. Meanwhile, Mikolajczak had the kind of experience QuantumScape would need to scale. Mikolajczak has a long history of research and development of better lithium-ion batteries. Her technical consulting practice at Exponent focused on the safety and quality of lithium-ion cells and batteries. She later held a senior management position at Tesla that focused on cell quality and materials engineering. During her time at Tesla, Mikolajczak developed the cells and battery packs for the Tesla Model S, Model X, Model 3 and Roadster Refresh. After leaving Tesla, Mikolajczak served as director of engineering, focusing on battery development for ride-sharing vehicles at Uber Technologies. And in 2019, she joined Panasonic Energy of North America, where she was vice president of battery technology. While at Panasonic, Mikolajczak led a team focused on improving lithium-ion cell manufacturing and bringing the latest cell technologies into mass production for Tesla at the Gigafactory facility in Sparks, Nevada.