SolarCity’s CEO is leaving Tesla as the company absorbs the solar installer

Since Tesla acquired SolarCity in November 2016, there’s been a gradual integration of the solar installer into Tesla, which included some significant layoffs and restructuring.

CEO and co-founder of SolarCity, Lyndon Rive, who is also Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s cousin, transitioned to Vice-President of Tesla Energy, which now includes both energy generation and storage.

The executive announced this week that he will be leaving Tesla this summer to start a new company.

He told Reuters that he is more comfortable starting and running a new company than as an executive at Tesla:

“My skill set and what I love doing is starting and running companies. I can hand off the baton to somebody else and give myself the opportunity to do something else that could also have another impact.”

Cal Lankton, Tesla’s vice president of global infrastructure operations, will be the one taking the baton and overseeing sales and operations of the energy products. Lankton is a former military officer and longtime Tesla executive best known for his role running the Supercharger network.

Tesla sent us the following statement about Rive’s departure from Tesla:

“Lyndon Rive co-founded SolarCity eleven years ago, and built it into the number one solar provider in the nation. Thanks in large part to the foundation Lyndon helped create, Tesla has now built the world’s first integrated sustainable energy company, from generation to storage to transportation. Because of his leadership and dedication to our mission, Lyndon has helped position Tesla for an amazing future. We know he’s an entrepreneur at heart, and we wish him the very best on his next venture.”

He will be leaving in June just as Tesla will start production of its new solar products, panels and solar roof tiles, under its own brand. While installers are still branded ‘SolarCity’, it’s likely going to be the end of that soon.

Peter Rive, Lyndon’s brother and SolarCity co-founder, is apparently staying with Tesla. He held several leadership roles at SolarCity, especially related to technology and operations, and he has been involved with the solar roof project at Tesla. During a recent conference call with journalists for the launch of the product, he was often the reference for technical questions about the product.

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