Tesla promotes a new general counsel – third this year

Tesla’s general counsel, Dane Butswinkas, confirmed that he is leaving the automaker two months after taking his position.

A longtime legal executive at Tesla is taking over – becoming the third general counsel at Tesla in a year.

In December, longtime Tesla general counsel Todd Maron announced that he was leaving in January 2019.

At the time, Tesla hired Butswinkas who was an outside counsel for the automaker.

Today, he announced that he is already leaving Tesla and the company confirmed that Jonathan Chang, an 8-year vetaran of Tesla’s legal team, will be replacing him.

Butswinkas commented on his time at Tesla and leaving:

“I’m grateful for the opportunity over the past seven months to have worked with both Elon and Tesla, first as outside counsel and most recently as General Counsel at Tesla. I am returning to my home in Washington, DC and to my trial practice at Williams & Connolly. I look forward to continuing my work with Tesla in an outside counsel role. I have observed and have tremendous confidence in Jonathan’s leadership skills and in the Tesla team. When I joined the company, I said it would be hard to identify a more timely or essential mission than Tesla’s—that’s as true today as it was then.”

At Tesla, Butswinkas was reporting directly to CEO Elon Musk and he oversaw Tesla’s legal and government relations teams.

Electrek’s Take

It sounds like he wasn’t a good fit. It’s better for him and Tesla to leave quickly than go on for months if he is not a good fit.

Tesla has been a little weird about their top lawyers. First, Elon hired his own divorce lawyer to lead the legal team of a carmaker.

Then, they hired a DC trial lawyer.

Now Tesla is going with a more comprehensive choice by promoting someone who has been on the legal team for a long time.

I know the shorts are all over this, but I actually see this as good news.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading Electrek— experts who break news about Tesla, electric vehicles, and green energy, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow Electrek on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our YouTube channel for the latest reviews.



Avatar for Fred Lambert Fred Lambert

Fred is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at Electrek.

You can send tips on Twitter (DMs open) or via email: fred@9to5mac.com

Through Zalkon.com, you can check out Fred’s portfolio and get monthly green stock investment ideas.