When former Apple and Gap executive George Blankenship joined Tesla back in 2010, he said he was excited to be "changing the world for the better" with "some of the boldest and brightest people on the planet." Perhaps the world has been changed enough, since Blankenship left the company a few weeks ago, notes the San Jose Mercury News.

The executive's departure comes at an interesting time for Tesla, with the company's global expansion just getting started in earnest. European and Asian sales and deliveries started this year. At the very least, Blankenship has managed to fulfill his desire to get "people to want the car, I don't want to sell them the car."

No one seems to know why Blankenship left Tesla – the company still lists him as the vice president of its sales and ownership experience on its website, and Tesla would not comment on the matter to Reuters. However, it's no surprise that Blankenship says he wants to spend more time with his family. We know this because of the excellent way he has updated his LinkedIn page. He now says his job is Director of Smiles for the Blankenship Family and that his "current position is focused on finding as many ways as possible to make as many people smile as often as possible." We wish him the best of luck in those efforts.


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  • 45 Comments
      Levine Levine
      • 1 Year Ago
      He says his new jobs is to ".....making as many people smile as possible....., make people want the car, not selling the car..." And then says he's retiring from Tesla to spend more time with family. What a bunch of dishonest BS salesmanship! This guy is from the 19th Century snake-oil sales school where it graduates phony, sleazy, dishonest people like him to be director of sales department. We're so glad Tesla encouraged his departure.
        m_2012
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Levine Levine
        I think what he is saying is his job is done here. His job was to make people want the car. He did that and then some. Now its retire after 3 years of likely 80 hour weeks. I wish him the best.
        Marcopolo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Levine Levine
        @ Levine Levine You really are one angry little ant, aren't you ? I don't think I've ever read a post from you, that doesn't contain some envious, negative, poisonous content ! ( Usually, hatred of the USA). I don't believe you know anything about George Blankenship, what he believes in, or the reasons for his departure from Tesla ! But ignorance, doesn't prevent you from posting your usual spiteful remarks, based on no more evidence than your own personality disorder ! I try not respond to posts on a personal basis, but in your case, I'll make an exception. Try to do something in your own life you of which you can be proud, then the good fortune or talents of others, won't make you so envious.
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marcopolo
          @ Electron, Y' know, you remind me of the sort of person who always becomes annoying at parties, bars and social venues, until either people just avoid you, call security and have you removed, or on occasion resort to more direct remonstrance. In the words of the late, great , WC Fields, " Go away Kid, y' bother me !" .
          Electron
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marcopolo
          @ Grendal, I still prefer little ants over snakes but I fear you are a lot more aware of the ants than the snakes.
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marcopolo
          @ Electron, You have a brother ? Or maybe just a clone ?
      Electron
      • 1 Year Ago
      No marcopolo, what's weird is spinning a web of deceit about yourself and the subjects and to expect people to believe that the person you suggest to be wouldn't have better things to do with his precious time than posting thousands of often lengthy rants in what appears to be some sort of opinion shaping effort favouring mostly oil interests. Exposing you for the fake you obviously are at times for the benefit of some of the more naive readers I consider a useful contribution. Let's face it marcopolo at the end of the day you are just some lonely guy with way to much time on his hands living out a fantasy in cyberspace. Envy? LOL! Pity? Maybe.
      libertedelacroix
      • 1 Year Ago
      Easy. He basically already made enough money!
      Andrew Pappas
      • 1 Year Ago
      where is baba ganoush
      Electron
      • 1 Year Ago
      ...and about your suggestion that you don't recall me making any positive contributions...Politicians always say they don't recall when they try to avoid lying also don't they? You're a slippery fellow but people who see through your deceit realize that it's in fact you who has yet to make a positive contribution to this forum.
      Bryant Keith
      • 1 Year Ago
      Let's be honest here, Telsa is an incredibly volatile company right now. They are in the news daily, stock prices went from 30, to 195, to 125 in less than 12 months. A man at his age and how much money he as accrued throughout the years, why stay and go through the constant stress of being a VP is such a position. It is no fun being in such a rapidly expanding company and industry. It can be rewarding, but he has already done all the rewarding work he needs to do. I wish him the best of luck in his retirement.
        Feurig
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Bryant Keith
        I would venture to say people get with rapidly expanding companies because it IS fun. You have so much say into the direction of a potentially enormous company where your legacy will be in every fabric of it. Yes, there's risk, but a guy like this could get a job anywhere, so I'm sure he's not worried about that.
      Marcopolo
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's difficult not to be cynical about people who resign for " health" or " to spend more time with family ". These phrase usually mean a more dramatic parting of the ways. Like Grendal, I hope George Blankenship retirement reasons are genuine, and wish him well in the future. The choice of his replacement, will be a very good indicator of any change in Tesla's marketing policies. Elon Musk may be preparing Tesla for a more conventional sales approach, or has decided that as sales expand nationally, and internationally Tesla needs an executive with greater automotive distribution experience. Elon Musk has been receiving advice from Toyota regarding the management and logistic's of recalls, and as Tesla Motors grows, it's only to be expected that much of the early idealism, will be moderated by the needs of an increasingly large organisation. The selection of George Blankenship's replacement, will be a good indicator of any shift in Elon Musk's policies.
        Joeviocoe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Marcopolo
        I don't see any indication in Elon Musk's history that would suggest he is would even be open to a more conventional approach to sales, marketing or distribution. Although you may speculate that Tesla must become more of a conventional automaker as its size grows... I have never heard Elon talk that way. Who says Elon is the type of person to listen to Toyota's "advice", if any advise were given. I have never seen a CEO be so independent. He has had success doing it his own way. And with guys like that, they continue to do it their own way until their own board members kick them out... which may be quite a while.
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          For reference... some people use ALLCAPS for emphasis via "slowing down" the sentence... instead of "shouting". You have been reading my comments for years. And have read SEVERAL example of my use of ALLCAPS which make no sense to be read as, "shouting". But make perfect sense to be read, "slower" than the rest of the sentence. While, exclamation points are rarely used for anything more than shouting, right?
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          @ Joeviocoe Well, Joe I have no wish to debate writing styles, however, If you think that 'all caps' is a method of "slowing down" , I'll try to remember that when reading your post's. (Most people would agree it's a form of shouting). Exclamation marks are usually taken to indicate emphasis, even astonishment, not "shouting" .
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          @ Joeviocoe Joe, you may be right. Unlike yourself, I am not intimately acquainted with Elon Musk, having only met him at public functions and such like, where our conversations were restricted to not more than a few pleasantries. You are also correct that, lacking the gift of telepathy, I can't tell what's in his mind ! That's why I look for indicators, like changes in executives, strategic partnerships, stock movements, investments, subtle changes in PR, and to provide possible insight into shifts of policy or direction. (I'm not always right, but I find such research a better method than blind faith). All successful businesspeople (well,.. all successful people) must be a combination of determination, and flexibility. In my opinion, although Elon Musk seems to be very focused and reacts badly to criticism, to his credit, when he calms down, he's very capable of collaboration and accepting advice. No individual, no matter how talented, can know everything about an industry. Elon Musk is a very careful and astute observer, and a very good, inspirational team leader. But,.. put not your faith in Princes, .... sooner or later, you will discover that they are never what you have built them to be in your imagination. (That's why it's unwise to met your hero's, to closely ! :)
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          @ Joeviocoe You do tend to get yourself lost, don't you ? There's no need to shout ! ( "All I said is that there is NO INDICATION he will behave differently than what he has been doing all along." ) Nor did I ! What I said, was that his choice of replacement, may provide an indication as to future planing. Since he hasn't yet chosen a permanent, replacement, what on earth are you arguing so loudly about ?
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Oh blah blah.... No one need be "intimate" with Elon Musk to hear him and believe that he truly believes in his direction. All I said is that there is NO INDICATION he will behave differently than what he has been doing all along. It is not telepathy. It is called reading his writing, and attending conferences... rather than forming opinions of one man based primarily on his Title (CEO), and thinking he will behave like others of the same Title. So, it is YOU who treat him like a "prince".
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Also, I believe the first one in an argument to diverge into commenting solely on one's writing style, rather than the content... has already conceded the point.
          Electron
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Marcopolo: "there is no need to shout !", says the master of the exclamation mark, even while telling other people not to shout. Yes, our little marcopolo is nothing if not a completel hypocrite. Guess that comes with the oil industry sock puppet territory.
      bluepongo1
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Blankenship has sales elsewhere ? :-P
      ffelix422
      • 1 Year Ago
      With a name like that...
        Nick Kordich
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ffelix422
        "Blankenship" is an English surname, from Blenkinsopp in Northumberland, near Hadrian's Wall. "Blenkinsopp" is Old English for "Blencan's hope." "Blencan" means "to cheat" or "to deceive" in Old English. I guess that is an ironic name for someone in sales/marketing, if that's what you meant. I appreciate the direction he took both Apple and Tesla stores, and I've heard universally positive comments from people who met and worked with him - I don't mean to imply anything negative in bringing up this genealogic/etymologic irony and wish him the best in his retirement.
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Nick Kordich
          @ Nick Kordich I always appreciate the amount of research you put into your post, and always enjoy reading your contributions. Lot's of Jewish sounding names, especially those ending in 'berg' or 'stien', are not of Jewish derivation . While others, like David have long since become internationalised. Many families just took the name of the town or region the came from, or a feature of the landscape, while other liked to advertise their craft or trade. My brother, like a lot of British citizens, has a fascination for genealogy and historical roots, while I spent more time in Australia where no one really cares about where you come from, or who your ancestors were. (Aussie's are more interested in what you are going to do in the future} . I recall as a small boy being shown in some dusty regional museum, an old tapestry, and being told that one of the figures was the ambitious knight who followed William the Conqueror to Hastings and was awarded the lands ( and young wife) of a minor Anglo-Saxon landowner, he killed at Hastings. The memory stuck, only because of the contrast between such dowdiness of faded glory, and the bright sunshine and sparkly beauty of Sydney harbour, that greeted my arrival in Australia later that year.
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Nick Kordich
          @ Nick Kordich Thank you for that interesting explanation. However, I fear your entertaining interpretation of this ancient name, is just speculative. That's because there's no such language as '' Old English". English is an evolving language, and always was. The derivation of many English terms could have a wide number of sources, all current at the same time, all in mixed usage. Variations of the name "Blen-" first appear in Cumbria, about the time of the Viking invasions. The word "Blencan' is often attributed a meaning to "impose" or "cheat ", due to similar terms in early German/Norse vernacular, but it could just a easily have Gaelic origins, or originate from a family called "Blen" who became shipwrights, or river traders. "Blenkin" could also be a corruption of Blencarn a town 7 miles east of Penrith in Cumbria . Blencarn, is named for the " Blencairn " barrow ruins, a notable Cumbrian feature that gave name to that region. ( The first record of the name, Blenkinship appears as late as 1540.) Cumbria is a very old part of the UK in terms of human habitation.
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Nick Kordich
          @ Nick Kordich, ( Sorry, I omitted the relevance of the story about the Norman Knight, my brother and I, are his direct descendant's)
          Nick Kordich
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Nick Kordich
          @Marcopolo - Thank you, and my regrets I can only give you one +1 for the clarification/correction. I was going by the following references, which I took no time to verify, since doing so could only poke holes in my ability to poke fun at marketing/sales: [1] http://www.ancestry.com/name-origin?surname=blankenship [2] http://books.google.com/books?id=0kc60WqxYK4C&lpg=PA37&ots=ryFnqtLPzS&dq=blenkinsop%20etymology&pg=PA38#v=onepage&q=blenkinsop%20etymology&f=false [3] http://www.wordsense.eu/blencan/ I took leap, particularly between 2 & 3. Your explanations of Blen and Blencairn sound more likely than naming a town "Hope to Swindle." For what it's worth, I wouldn't put too much trust in Ancestry.com's origin explanation, either. It cites "Kordich" as having been a Jewish name originating in Kordyshev, Ukraine. I'm pretty sure that's off by a thousand miles and more than a few generations of Catholic ancestors. http://www.ancestry.com/name-origin?surname=kordich http://www.ancestry.com/name-origin?surname=kordish
      Grendal
      • 1 Year Ago
      Maybe he will stick around as a consultant during his retirement. Good luck, George. You will be missed.
      Grendal
      • 1 Year Ago
      Some people need to be told their behavior is bad and intolerable.
      Street King
      • 1 Year Ago
      LOL @ the blind and clearly uninformed Tesla lover comments in here. The guy left because the company is about to be put through the ringer by the NHTSA due to all the Tesla fires and he doesn't want to hang around and end up with a smeared resume. Watch and learn.
        Marcopolo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Street King
        @ Street King Just when I thought the extreme Tesla fans were the most annoying, you come a long and make them look moderate by comparison ! " All the Tesla fires !?! ", yeah, that's right, all two of them ! ( if you don't count the high speed collision into a stone wall ! ) Tesla is not about to be " put through the ringer by the NHTSA" ! Even in the most extreme circumstances, all Tesla may need to do, is a minor modification to it's battery protection. The NHSTA, has already stated that Tesla has no manufacturing defects affecting it's safety certification. Even in the advent of an unforeseeable design aspect becoming realised, the company would not be "put through the wringer, by the NHTSA" or any other authority. Nor do company sales executives leave because of minor engineering modifications. Now, you can go back home to the ruins of the old Packard factory in Detroit, and fantasise about Tesla's downfall !
        m_2012
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Street King
        Wrong. Funny how orders are up, production is up, and R&D is going as planned but yet everything seems "to be going down". Fires after an accident are a non-issue. When they have multiple fires parked in someone's garage, let me know. Ford had hundreds and even killed people - they seem to be doing just fine. Maybe then I might consider, for a moment, selling my stock.
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