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Tesla Motors Hires Veteran Exec

September 08, 2009

SAN CARLOS, CA --- Tesla Motors said it has hired Silicon Valley executive Jon Sobel as general counsel and board secretary. He'll start in late September.

Sobel, 45, is currently group president for media of SourceForge, an open source and social media company. Previously, Sobel was senior vice president of strategy and business development at CBS Interactive, and he was partner at San Francisco-based law firm Folger Levin & Kahn.

Sobel spent six years as a top executive at Internet search pioneer Yahoo, where he was senior vice president, general counsel, board secretary and a member of the company's executive committee. He joined Yahoo in 1998 and was rapidly promoted to lead the team, which grew to include more than 75 attorneys.

"Jon really understands how to solve the challenges of a fast-growing, international consumer technology company," said Tesla CEO Elon Musk. "His high-tech background serves as a good complement to the auto industry expertise on the Tesla team. Consistent with our strategy is to recruit outstanding talent from both industries."

Tesla also announced a financial milestone in July, when it achieved overall corporate profitability and shipped a record 109 vehicles to customers. 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 already serves as an industry-wide example that an automaker can create a successful business model while being socially and environmentally responsible," Sobel said. "I'm thrilled to be joining such an exciting company at the beginning of its rapid growth phase."

All-electric vehicle manufacturer 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 D.C., Toronto and Monaco this year.


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