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Tesla Loses Head of Global Sales To Lyft

A Tesla Inc. Model X P100D sports utility vehicle (SUV) sits on display at the company's new showroom in New York on Dec. 14, 2017. Mark Kauzlarich—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tesla has lost another executive—this time its president of global sales and service, and CEO Elon Musk says he has no plans to fill the position.

Jon McNeill, who joined Tesla in 2015, has departed the company, Musk confirmed during a Wednesday fourth-quarter earnings call with analysts. McNeill was named Wednesday as chief operating officer at ride-hailing company Lyft, filling a position left vacant by the departure of Rex Tibbens in November.

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“We wish him well in his future career,” Musk said. “Going forward I will be having the sales and service report directly to me. There are no plans to search for a replacement.”

McNeill was unique in that he was the only senior executive who had a cash-bonus incentive plan. In August, Tesla entered into an incentive compensation plan with McNeill, that would give him up to a $700,000 bonus for meeting certain target levels of vehicle deliveries during the third and fourth quarters of 2017, operational and financial metrics relating to vehicle service performance and costs during 2017, and customer satisfaction scores. It’s unclear if he met those targets.

He was also doing more than just heading up sales and service.

In September, Diarmuid O’Connell, Tesla’s vice president of business development and one of Musk’s most visible and valuable executives, left the company. At the time, Tesla said McNeil would take over O’Connell’s responsibilities.

O’Connell helped Tesla negotiate its most important deals, finding and negotiating an agreement to buy Tesla’s Fremont factory, the former Nummi plant jointly owned by Toyota and General Motors that produced nearly 430,000 vehicles at its peak. O’Connell was also lead in Tesla’s deal with Nevada to build its Gigafactory, a massive battery factory that is still under construction near Reno. O’Connell was at the front of the battle lines in the fight with legislators to allow Tesla to sell directly to customers—an approach vehemently opposed by auto dealers.

McNeill was also an important figure at Tesla, a point that Lyft made in its announcement.

“During his time at Tesla, sales more than doubled, customer satisfaction increased to record levels, and his organization scaled to over 10,000 people across 32 countries,” Lyft said in a statement about McNeill. “While scaling, Jon’s teams also changed the auto industry by innovating mobile services as well as the in-store and digital sales experience. Jon’s passion to change transportation for the better goes back to his days as a founder and CEO.”

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