Tesla Motors has filled two of about 150 job openings as it moves to sell more cars and get the Model S on the road. The company announced today that John Walker, formerly the general manager of sales operations at Audi, will be Tesla's new VP of North American sales. No stranger to the auto industry, Walker has previously worked at GM and BMW and will be present at the Tesla store openings happening this fall.
Secondly, Ricardo Reyes, the director of communications at YouTube, will move to the Tesla Team in the middle of next month to be VP of communication. Ricardo's ties to the auto industry don't run as deep as Walker's, but he did advise automotive suppliers while he worked for the Bracewell and Giuliani LLC law firm. His first assignment for Tesla will be to travel to the Frankfurt Motor Show.
Tesla's Rachel Konrad said that the electric car company will be making more announcements of "high-profile hires" in the coming weeks, adding that, "Tesla has more than 150 job openings -- mostly in engineering -- and is aggressively recruiting top talent from the automotive industry and Silicon Valley." Details on both hires are available after the jump.
Photos by Lennon.
Tesla Motors Hires Star Audi Executive to Run North American Sales
Senior Audi executive John Walker joins leading electric vehicle manufacturer to drive coast-to-coast retail expansion.
SAN CARLOS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE) Audi executive John Walker has joined Tesla Motors as vice president for North American sales, effective immediately.
Walker, 46, was a rising star at Audi, one of the few automotive companies to sustain robust sales during the recession. The German carmaker had rapidly promoted Walker through increasingly sales leadership roles in Australia, Canada and then the United States, Audi's largest market, where he was general manager of sales operations prior to joining Tesla. Before Audi, Walker worked at General Motors and BMW.
Walker is the latest executive with deep automotive expertise to join Tesla. Chief Designer Franz von Holzhausen, former director of design for Mazda North America, led styling of the all-electric Model S sedan. Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja was a senior finance executive at Ford headquarters and had previously served as CFO of Ford Southern Africa.
"We are rethinking almost every aspect of the automobile – including the retail experience," said Tesla CEO Elon Musk. "It underscores the growing momentum of Tesla that someone like John Walker, whose phenomenal track in sales at Audi has contributed meaningfully to their success, would leave to join Tesla. His track record of outstanding execution will be invaluable as we continue the rapid expansion of our North American store locations and recruitment of top talent."
Walker will be traveling throughout the fall to Tesla's store openings in North America. Other than the Roadster, Walker's favorite cars are the 1960s Jaguar E-type and the Ford Mustang. His first car was a 1974 Volkswagen Beetle, which he still owns.
"It is really because of Tesla that the automotive industry has turned so quickly to embrace development of electric vehicles, and I feel confident that Tesla will continue to be at the forefront of innovation," Walker said. "Joining the company now is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help create something different, change the world for the better and have fun in the process."
Tesla achieved overall corporate profitability and shipped a record 109 vehicles to customers in July. The company – which remains the only automaker producing and selling highway capable electric vehicles – has enjoyed a surge in new Roadster purchases this summer. The Department of Energy recently announced that Tesla will receive a $465 million loan for Model S and powertrain production. Initial fund disbursements from the loan are expected to begin in the fall.
Tesla Motors Hires Google Strategist to be Vice President of Communications
Ricardo Reyes, Director of Communications for YouTube, will join leading electric vehicle manufacturer.
SAN CARLOS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Google executive Ricardo Reyes will join Tesla Motors as vice president for communications, starting in mid-September.
Reyes, 35, is head of global communications and public affairs at YouTube, one of the premier destinations online and a subsidiary of Google. He previously handled litigation, competition and policy communications for the online search, services and products company.
Before that, Ricardo spent a decade working on public policy and communications in Washington DC, including two years at law firm Bracewell and Giuliani LLC, where he led crisis consulting and communications management services. Among the corporate and political clients he advised, Reyes worked with automotive suppliers as they faced major changes to their business structure.
Reyes has served as Deputy Assistant US Trade Representative for Public and Media Affairs. From 2001 to 2004, he was a spokesman for international trade policy and an adviser to US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick.
"Ricardo has deep expertise in both the public and private sectors in managing complex communication issues. He has a well earned reputation for being forthright, possessing a nuanced understanding of the facts and adapting quickly to a rapidly changing landscape, making Ricardo the perfect person for a fast-paced, high-profile company like ours," said Tesla CEO Elon Musk. "This is further evidence that Tesla is aggressively recruiting from both Silicon Valley and the traditional automotive industry to build the best possible team."
Tesla announced a significant financial milestone in July, when it achieved overall corporate profitability and shipped a record 109 vehicles to customers. The company – which remains the only automaker producing and selling highway capable electric vehicles – has enjoyed a surge in new Roadster purchases this summer. The Department of Energy recently announced that Tesla will receive a $465 million loan for Model S and powertrain production. Initial fund disbursements from the loan are expected to begin in the fall.
Reyes will start Sept. 14 and immediately travel to Frankfurt, Germany for the 63rd International Motor Show, one of the auto industry's premier events. Tesla executives will be available throughout the media preview, Sept. 15-16, and they will be keynoting a leading industry conference on Sept. 18.
"Despite its small size, Tesla has become a significant player in the automotive industry and has already served as a powerful catalyst for other automakers to develop green vehicles," Reyes said. "The opportunity to join Tesla and help make a difference to the world is the only thing that could have enticed me to leave Google."
In 1996, Reyes worked as an observer for national elections in his birth country, Nicaragua. As a kid, Ricardo spent his summers pumping gas, checking fluid levels, and changing oil filters at gas stations run by his dad. Reyes is a graduate of Rice University in Houston, Texas.
Tesla sells cars online and operates showrooms in New York, Seattle, London, West Los Angeles and California's Silicon Valley. Tesla will open stores in Chicago and Munich in the upcoming weeks, and it also plans stores in South Florida, Washington DC, Toronto and Monaco this year.
Tesla Motors is the only automaker worldwide that is manufacturing and selling highway-capable electric vehicles. Tesla, which achieved overall corporate profitability last month, has delivered about 700 Roadsters to customers so far. The company's goal is to produce increasingly affordable cars to mainstream buyers – relentlessly driving down the cost of EV technology. Tesla also sells patented power train components to other automakers, including the battery pack and charger for the electric Smart, built by German luxury carmaker Daimler.
The Roadster beats nearly every other car for acceleration yet is twice as energy efficient as a Toyota Prius. With an EPA-estimated range of nearly 250 miles per charge, it costs less than $5 to refuel and is faster than street-legal Porsches and Ferraris.
Teslas consume no gasoline whatsoever, never need routine oil changes and require far less maintenance than internal combustion engine vehicles or complicated hybrids. They qualify for numerous incentives, including a $7,500 federal tax credit nationwide, and sales tax waivers in several states, leading to a dramatically lower total cost of ownership than conventional sports cars.