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Tesla veteran exec Diarmuid O’Connell leaves following launch of Model 3

Today, we learn that one of Tesla’s first non-engineer employees and longtime Vice President of Business Development, Diarmuid O’Connell, has left the automaker.

His departure from the California-based company was first reported by Bloomberg terminal and quickly confirmed by Tesla.

A Tesla spokesperson said that O’Connell felt like leaving and “spending more time with his family” after the launch of the Model 3:

“For more than 11 years, Diarmuid has played an important role in helping Tesla grow from a small startup to a company with a presence around the world. He started with Tesla before the rollout of Roadster, and now that we’ve reached the launch of Model 3, he felt the time was right to move on and spend more time with his family. We wish him the best. Diarmuid’s team and responsibilities will now roll up to Jon McNeill, Tesla’s President of Global Sales and Service.”

In the past, O’Connell said that he came to work for Tesla back in 2006 after having served a few years at the state department during the height of the Iraq war.

The executive said that he came to realize that the root cause of the war was petrol and that the US had to find ways to become energy independent. That’s when he decided to focus on electric vehicles and renewable energy.

He was one of Tesla’s first hire not related to engineering.

Over the years, he has been known to the public for representing the company during dealings with government entities. For example, when Tesla argued for a stricter ZEV mandate before the California’s Air Resources Board or when challenging direct sale bans.

Tesla says that his responsibilities have now been handed to Jon McNeill, who had more of a consumer-facing role as head of Tesla’s sales and services since 2015.

O’Connell’s departure follows recent other executives leaving Tesla, like Tesla’s longtime battery technology director who left last month, but the company says that its turnover is normal in the industry and that directors and vice-president stay longer than average at Tesla. O’Connell’s eleven-year long tenure is a good example.

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