DETROIT Nov 21 George Blankenship, the lead
architect of Tesla Motors Inc's sales strategy and
distribution network for more than three years, left the
electric car maker last month, according to his LinkedIn page.
The exit comes at a sensitive time for Chief Executive Elon
Musk, who is facing a federal safety investigation into the
Model S electric sedan after three cars caught fire in less than
Tesla is also in the midst of expanding stores in Europe,
Asia and North America.
Blankenship, a well-regarded executive who helped design
Apple Inc's retail experience, is still listed as vice
president of sales and ownership experience on Tesla's website.
But according to his LinkedIn profile, Blankenship is now
"Director of Smiles for the Blankenship Family" and "done at
Tesla" as of November 2013. ()
It was unclear why Blankenship left the company.
A Tesla spokeswoman did not immediately return messages
seeking comment on the move, which was first reported by the San
Jose Mercury News newspaper.
Musk hired Blankenship from Apple in July 2010.
Tesla shares were flat on the Nasdaq at $122.10. The fires
and resulting probe have lopped off about 37 percent from
Tesla's stock price since the end of September.