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Tesla hires new head of Energy operations from Amazon and head of Tesla Europe from BMW

After announcing a flurry of new executive hires from Apple, Amazon, and more last week, Tesla has announced two new executive hires today: a new head of Energy operations and a new head of Tesla Europe.

Tesla made the announcement in a blog post:

  • Sanjay Shah is joining Tesla as our Senior Vice President of Energy Operations, responsible for worldwide deployment and operations of Tesla’s energy products, including Solar, Powerwall and Powerpack. Sanjay brings to Tesla more than twenty years of experience in operations, manufacturing, supply chain and engineering. After working at Dell, Sanjay joined Amazon in 2011 and was Vice President of North American Fulfillment Centers before leaving to join Tesla.
  • Jan Oehmicke will join Tesla in July as our Vice President of Tesla Europe, managing finance, sales and operations for the greater Europe region. Over an 18-year career at BMW, Jan has lived and worked around the world. Jan will remain CEO of BMW Financial Services France for another month before joining Tesla and was previously Vice President of Sales and Marketing for BMW Financial Services Germany.

Tesla confirmed that Shah would be replacing Cal Lankton, a longtime Tesla executive who most recently was in charge of the Tesla Energy division.

A spokesperson sent us the following statement:

“After five years at Tesla, Cal Lankton, VP Energy Sales and Operations has decided to move on. We’d like to thank Cal for all of his contributions to Tesla and we wish him the best. Sanjay Shah, who is joining Tesla as our Senior Vice President of Energy Operations will take on Cal’s responsibilities.”

There were several shakeups in Tesla’s energy division since the acquisition of SolarCity.

Before the acquisition, Lankton was in charge of infrastructure operations and he has long been responsible for the Supercharger network, but he took over the energy division after CEO and co-founder of SolarCity, Lyndon Rive, who is also Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s cousin, left the company.

Electrek’s Take

As we reported last week, Tesla rarely announces new hires unless they are really high-profile – like c-level executives.

For example, the company didn’t announce the hiring of Jim Keller, which Electrek had to reveal.

But today’s and last week’s announcements seem to be in response to critics often framing departures at Tesla as representative of a high turnover rate, which has so far not been proven.

There are certainly a few departments within Tesla that had significant turnover, for example, Tesla’s Autopilot leadership had several changes over the past 2 years.

But as for the broader company, it employs over 100 vice-president and director-level employees and while about 2 dozen have left over the last few years, many have been around for much longer than the average turnaround in silicon valley.

I think it’s something worth keeping an eye on because Tesla needs to retain top talent, but I think it’s also something that has been blown out of proportion by Tesla naysayers.

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