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Another Top Executive Departs Tesla, Joining Dozens of Others Who Left the Automaker in 2018

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【Summary】​Another key executive at electric automaker Tesla is stepping down, according to people with familiar with the matter. It’s another setback for Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk since tweeting on August 7 about taking the company private.

FutureCar Staff    Sep 21, 2018 6:31 PM PT
Another Top Executive Departs Tesla, Joining Dozens of Others Who Left the Automaker in 2018

Another key executive at electric automaker Tesla is stepping down, according to people with familiar with the matter. The news of his departure was first reported by Bloomberg today. It's another setback for Tesla's CEO Elon Musk since tweeting on August 7 about taking the company private.

Liam O'Connor, vice president of global supply management, becomes the latest to resign from the electric automaker said the people, who requested anonymity because the information hadn't been made public yet.

O'Connor joined Tesla in March 2015 from Apple. He becomes the fifth senior executive to be depart the company within the span of a few weeks. In addition to losing O'Conner, the company has lost its chief accounting officer and both the heads of human resources and communications, all within the past month.

Justin McAnear, currently serving as Tesla's vice president of worldwide finance also announced his resignation and is slated to leave next month.

The timing of the departures is alarming for Tesla, since the company is in the middle of ramping up production and deliveries of its mass-market Model 3 sedan. In addition, all of the departures occurred shortly after Elon Musk tweeted that the he secured the necessary financing to take Tesla public.

Musk's tweet on August 7 sent Tesla's share price down nearly 25 percent and sparked an SEC investigation, as well as investor lawsuit from short sellers of Tesla's stock.

Musk said he was in talks with the Saudi Arabia PIF as the source of the funding Tesla needs to go private. The PIF is a multi-billion dollar fund that invests in fields such as aerospace, energy, green technologies with a focus on renewable energy and information technology. Instead, the PIF instead invested $1 billion in Tesla rival Lucid Motors, a Silicon Valley startup working on their own luxury electric car called the Lucid Air.

Tesla is now facing two probes by the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition, Musk shocked many people when he smoked marijuana during a live streamed podcast with comedian Joe Rogan on September 7.

According to a recent CNBC report, a total 41 executives have left Tesla in 2018. Tesla also laid off at least 9 percent of its workforce (around 3,500 employees) in June.

On Friday, the company announced it was promoting several new executives, some of whom fill the shoes of people who left this year.

Here are some of the key departures at Tesla this year, as prepared by CNBC:

Jon McNeill, President of Global Sales & Service, left in February after 2 years. McNeill moved to ride-hailing company Lyft where he's served as chief operating officer since February.

Eric Branderiz, Chief Accounting Officer, left in March after a year and a half, citing only "personal reasons." He is now the chief financial officer at a solar energy firm, according to his LinkedIn profile. Branderiz' replacement Dave Morton, also resigned after being at the company for just one month.

Matthew Schwall, Director of Field Performance Engineering, left Tesla in May. He was the company's main point of contact with the National Transportation Safety Board and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the agency investigating Tesla over crashes involving Tesla's Autopilot autonomous driving system.

Karim Bousta, Vice President of Worldwide Service, left in June.

Yannick Roux, Director of Manufacturing, left in June.

Paul Lomangino, Director of Engineering, left in June. Roux and Lomangino both worked for Tesla for over 11 years.

Susan Repo. Treasurer and VP of Finance  stepped down to join a enterprise software company as CFO. Repo worked at Tesla for 5 years.

Jim Keller, Vice President of Tesla Autopilot (the company's autonomous driving system) left Tesla in April to join Intel.

Musk serves as both chairman and chief executive officer of Tesla and announced a series of promotions as he looks to rebuild his core executive team.

Among the promotions were Jerome Guillen to automotive president, a newly created position that includes coordinating Tesla's vehicle supply chain, which looks to be a vital role as Tesla focuses on increasing production of the Model 3 sedan.


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