Tesla's Head Of Business Development Leaves After 11 Years To "Spend More Time With Family"

Tyler Durden's picture

If the Titanic sailed today, it would have an electric engine.

One month after Tesla's veteran battery technology direct, Kurt Kelty, left the company to "explore new opportunities", another veteran employee has unexpectedly departed the carmaker: on Wednesday, Tesla said that long-time executive Diarmuid O‘Connell, vice president of business development, had left after 11 years with the company (after a prior stint as the State Department's Chief of Staff on Political Military Affairs), the latest in a string of departures to hit the company just as Tesla enters "production hell" after it delivered its first Model 3 electric car to the general public with a dramatic production ramp up expected in the coming weeks.

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (L) welcomes Diarmuid O'Connell to the state by

presenting him with a vanity license plate, in Carson City, Nevada September 11, 2014

“For more than 11 years, Diarmuid has played an important role in helping Tesla grow from a small startup to a company with a presence around the world,” Tesla said in a statement. “He started with Tesla before the rollout of Roadster, and now that we’ve reached the launch of Model 3, he felt the time was right to move on and spend more time with his family.”

O'Connell joined Tesla in July 2006 and was one of the longest-serving executives at Tesla after Elon Musk, and one of the few who spoke on behalf of the company at industry conferences. According to Bloomberg, he was a key point person in Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk’s state-by-state battles with auto dealers over the company’s right to sell cars directly to consumers.

Bloomberg notes that O’Connell, 53, lives near Aspen, Colorado, with his family and clocked thousands of miles of travel each year overseeing a business development and regulatory policy team of roughly 50 people.

“I’ve been privileged to be part of a team that sparked a revolution in global electromobility,” O’Connell said in a statement sent to Bloomberg News. “There is no turning back on the road to a world of electric vehicles and sustainable energy generation and use.”  O’Connell’s team and responsibilities will be overseen by Jon McNeill, Tesla’s president of global sales and service, the company said.

And while we have no reason to doubt that O'Connell wanted to "spend more time with his family", we find it odd that his departure takes place just one day after a recent report into a fatal 2016 crash involving a Tesla Model S car and an articulated truck has found that both drivers and the company share the blame for the incident, reigniting debate about the future of self-driving cars.

As we reported at the time, Joshua Brown, 40, was travelling along the highway near Williston, Florida on May 7, 2016, when both he and his car’s autopilot system failed to notice a truck making a left turn on the highway ahead. The Model S struck the right side of the trailer smashing into the underside, shearing off the roof of the car in the process. The driver of the truck was uninjured but Brown died in the crash.

"System safeguards were lacking," NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said as cited by Fortune. "Tesla allowed the driver to use the system outside of the environment for which it was designed and the system gave far too much leeway to the driver to divert his attention."

The National Transportation Safety Board concluded its own separate investigation Tuesday and found that Tesla bears some of the responsibility.

"The probable cause of the Williston, Florida, crash was the truck driver’s failure to yield the right of way to the car, combined with the car driver’s inattention due to overreliance on vehicle automation," the watchdog’s press release said. The data from the autopilot module indicates the driver was over-reliant on the system and fundamentally misunderstood its limitations.

* * *

Meanwhile, whatever the real reason for O'Connell's departure, the complete list of recent senior executive Tesla departures, courtesy of @WallStCynic just added one more entry.

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Anunnaki's picture

Leaving to spend more time with his family = child molester was busted in flagrante delicto

JRobby's picture

Maybe he had an issue with the "switching on" of battery capacity to help out the hurricane evacuation owners? Perhaps it dawned on him that there is a moral hazard involved?

Get a bunch of GOVT SUBSIDIES to make an electric car that can go further if you pay more to use all of the batteries you already paid for? How about making a reliable electric car that can go as far as the battery capacity technology will allow for?

Shitonya Serfs's picture

I'm sure Musk has more relatives to fill this position. Maybe even his hair plug guy.

jcaz's picture

Someone decided to cash out at the top.....

Pinto Currency's picture

Ballard Power (BLDP) is going to destroy TSLA

fx's picture

The chief executive con-man, i.e. Elon Musk, will follow suit within the next 15 months to "devote more time to SpaceX" - not without cashing out a couple billion $, of course, before Tesla implodes on its terrible business model of selling $-bills for 90 cents.


Ballard who?

I remember people hyping this crap back in the 90s. Tesla is a genuine success story, compared with that scam known as Ballard Power.

Pinto Currency's picture

Pace and lead.  Nice.


Do a little research before you post.

There's been a membrane technology break-through.


WHile you're researching, also check out Novo (NVO-T). 

It's the next 50 years of gold mining.

InjectTheVenom's picture


you mean bitcoin mining, right ?

Joe Davola's picture

They always wanna spend more time with their family, until they spend more time with their family.

fx's picture

I didn't research it. I am just inclined to say that when a company that was supposed to have the big breakthrough in fuel cell technology more than 20 years ago is now again being touted as the next hot thing, then I reserve the right to be more than just sceptical.

PrezTrump's picture

Who is NVO-T ?  Cant find em.

toady's picture

Exactly. Nothing like time with the family on top of a mountain of cash.

YUNOSELL's picture

Time to cash out them stocks while the goings good and Tesla is grossly overvalued (more than everything else is even)!

fx's picture

The chief executive con-man, i.e. Elon Musk, will follow suit within the next 15 months to "devote more time to SpaceX" - not without cashing out a couple billion $, of course, before Tesla implodes on its terrible business model of selling $-bills for 90 cents

83_vf_1100_c's picture

Getting out while the parachute is still gilded?

cheech_wizard's picture

"Leaving to spend more time with his family"

I usually read that as his cocaine addiction was getting to the point the rest of the company's officers couldn't ignore it anymore.


Theta_Burn's picture

Diarmuid O‘Connell?? now thats a name..

JuliaS's picture

The spot is expected to be filled by his cousin, Hemroid O'Colon.

Anteater's picture

Honey BooBoo Possum Tater now known as Hope Hicks.

Wild E Coyote's picture

Maybe he does not like his cousin. 

moorewasthebestbond's picture

Nimrata Randhawa... now known as white-sounding Nikki Haley.

Greenspazm's picture

scrabble: Medicaid Unroll No.  or:

Cordial Mold Ennui.

moorewasthebestbond's picture

Gonna have a weekend car-becque with the family.


Roast some marshmallows over a flaming Tesla.

buzzsaw99's picture

i have no doubt he will spend more but only because he gots more.

BritBob's picture

Nikola Tesla (Serbian Cyrillic: ?????? ?????; 10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943) was a Serbian-American[2][3][4] inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist who is best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system.[5]

Agent P's picture

Is the head of Unnecessary Government Subsidies still with the firm?

roadhazard's picture

Good for him. Gots to smell the roses. I know guys that will work until they die. No personal life. I'm glad I'm not a type A.

shizzledizzle's picture

This must be akin to the exodus of FED officials citing "Personal Reasons". I.E. not wanting it to be their head on a pike. 

Youri Carma's picture


Driver Errors, Overreliance on Automation, Lack of Safeguards, Led to Fatal Tesla Crash
9/12/2017, NTSB Press Release - National Transportation Safety Board Office of Public Affairs

Public Meeting of September 12, 2017

With the self driving car hype more crashes are bound to happen.

Since these self-driving cars are highly depending on it's sensors functioning well, you can see the disasters in the making. A bit of snow makes these self-driving cars very unreliable while they are crashing as we speak in sunny dry conditions. The sensor thought the white truck was simply air and went speed ahead ...

These systems need laser precision to survive today's jammed up traffic metal jungle. But I think the NWO psychopaths love to have them as an extra control mechanism. The Uber psychopathic dreamworld of 1984 style total computer controlled thiefdom for the 00,1%.

seataka's picture

"Spend more time with family"

I have noted this sentiment several times of late, seems it is the politically correct way to say I have been informed about what is about to occur so I'm bugging out to enjoy some life while there is still some relatively normal life left to enjoy.

rbianco3's picture

Wish I did not agree with this.

Didn't a politician from Utah just leave for the same reason?

Who is John Galt, Grand solar minimum, Planetary alignment cleansing, Incoming binary to the sun come to mind in opposite order of my perceived liklihood.

BitchesBetterRecognize's picture

"spend more time with the family" is a code name for pulling out before the SHTF 

south40_dreams's picture

Time to put Elmer Gantry in the rear view mirror

Dickguzinya's picture

He finally woke up and realized his boss and the car are pieces of shit.

gilhgvc's picture

death by a thousand cuts

LeftandRightareWrong's picture

Those $.0001 options vest after 11 years?