Earlier this year, Tesla’s two-time Vice President of Global Communications, Ricardo Reyes, left the automaker and its already small PR department became even smaller. After leaving, Reyes co-founded the ‘Republicans for Clinton in 2016‘ organisation in an attempt to “defeat Trump and restore the Republican party”.
Since Reyes’ departure from Tesla, Khobi Brooklyn, Director of Communications, became the most senior employee in the department and the de facto “Head of Global Communications”. We now learn that she is also leaving the automaker just a few months after Reyes.
As previously mentioned, Reyes has been VP of Communications at Tesla on two occasions. First from 2009 to 2012, when he left for a 2-year stint at Square, a financial service and mobile payment company. He then came back to Tesla in 2014. Brooklyn joined Tesla around the same time as Reyes (2009) and followed him to Square and back to Tesla again in 2014.
The company didn’t hire or promote another Vice President when Reyes left in March, but sources familiar with the situation told us that the company’s General Counsel and Elon Musk’s former divorce attorney, Todd Maron, among others had oversight and executive responsibilities of the communications department.
We asked Tesla for a comment on the situation, but our request went unanswered. The company rarely comments on employee matters.
Despite its comparatively small size (only 3 or 4 people), Tesla’s PR department is extremely important to the automaker since it uses only minimal advertising and marketing. Instead, it depends highly on the constant media attention on its products, which the PR department manages.
Tesla PR handles media inquiries, writes press releases and has a hand in Tesla’s popular blog posts among other matters. Recently, there have been a few major “PR nightmares” that kept the small team busy and CEO Elon Musk expressed his discontent with the way some events were portrayed in the media.
We are talking about the accident in a Model S on Autopilot that resulted in the death of Joshua Brown in Florida in May.
Musk has since mentioned an upcoming blog post to better explain how Tesla’s Autopilot system works, but it was never published. Another blog post, this time about the upcoming v8.0 update, was also supposed to be published, but it is now late by over a week (exacerbated by the Falcon 9 explosion).
Tesla currently lists a position for a ‘Communications Manager‘ on its career website.
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