Tesla’s VP of Communications Set to Leave Company

O’Brien will be succeeded by Dave Arnold, Tesla’s Senior Director of Communications.

byRob Stumpf|
Electric Vehicles photo


Tesla's Vice President of Communications, Sarah O'Brien, is slated to leave the electric automaker next month following a two-year stint in her position, says Bloomberg.

A pluck from Apple, O'Brien's role has been crucial to Tesla's greatest asset: its brand. Unlike companies that have large marketing budgets to advertise their fleet of vehicles, Tesla chooses to forego the traditional approach and rely on press coverage and word of mouth from its customers.

This approach undoubtedly requires heavy moderation of factual inaccuracies in many sectors of the media, whether intentional or not, likely contributing to the role being fast-paced and high-stress. Not only does the company receive a massive amount of inquiries from media outlets via email, but it must also handle brand management on social media and other non-traditional means.

According to sources, O'Brien's decision to leave Tesla predates the company's recent back-and-forth about taking the company private, a decision which was ultimately scrapped when CEO Elon Musk determined that it was better to focus on ramping up production for the company's newest mass-production electric sedan, the Model 3. Members of Tesla's board reportedly supported Musk's decision in a corroborating statement.

“We’d like to thank Sarah for all her contributions to Tesla and we wish her the best," a Tesla spokesperson said in a statement to The Drive. "Sarah’s transition has been underway for a couple of months and Dave Arnold, Tesla’s Sr. Director of Global Communications, will take on her responsibilities.”

O'Brien will continue to head the department until her scheduled departure on September 7th, 2018.

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