SolarCity co-founder to leave Tesla

Lyndon Rive, former SolarCity CEO, plans to leave Tesla in June.

The SolarCity and Tesla exec told Reuters in an interview Monday he would be leaving his post as head of sales and service at Tesla’s energy arm. Rive, Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s cousin, told the publication he wanted to start another company next year and spend more time with his family.

Like his cousin, Rive grew up in South Africa with an ambitious, entrepreneurial mother and an early desire to start companies. Musk suggested to Rive during a trip to Burning Man that he start a solar company. Musk served as chairman of SolarCity.

Tesla bought SolarCity, one of the nation’s largest solar installers, in November for $2.6 billion. The merger drew criticism as a bailout for the unprofitable solar company, although shareholders voted overwhelmingly to approve the deal.

Musk said the two companies belonged together because they share a common vision — a world fueled by renewable energy — and leadership.

After the merger, Tesla started to offer solar products and batteries in its stores. Last week, the company expanded its product offerings with solar roofs. The glass tiled roofs will generate electricity from embedded solar cells. The company says the roof will generate enough electricity to pay for themselves over a 30 year lifetime.

Tesla has lost a few high-profile executives in recent months. Chief Financial Officer Jason Wheeler announced he was leaving in February to pursue a job in the public sector. Wheeler was replaced by Tesla’s first CFO, Deepak Ahuja.

The director of Tesla’s Autopilot unit, Sterling Anderson, left in December to form a startup with Chris Urmson, the former chief of Google’s self-driving team. The venture, Aurora Innovations, will focus on autonomous driving technology.

Photo: Lyndon Rive, CEO of Solar City, at the company’s San Mateo headquarters in 2015. SolarCity was acquired by Tesla in November 2016. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group) 


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