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Recently, Tesla confirmed to media outlets that Dave Arnold is leaving as Director of Communications. Not much has been said, but it’s a difficult job that people only hold for a couple of years at most. There is also a recent lawsuit that may be related to the departure.

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Tesla Changes Communications Chiefs & Hires Hilarious Social Media Manager

Recently, Tesla confirmed to media outlets that Dave Arnold is leaving as Director of Communications. Not much has been said, but it’s a difficult job that people only hold for a couple of years at most. There is also a recent lawsuit that may be related to the departure.

Recently, Tesla confirmed to media outlets that Dave Arnold is leaving as Director of Communications. Not much has been said, but it’s a difficult job that people only hold for a couple of years at most.

A Challenging Job

It seems that one of the toughest jobs at Tesla is Director of Communications. Most who have held the position have not stayed long, with the average time in the post about two years.

The automaker does not do traditional advertising, which puts weight on the communications director’s shoulders to tell the company’s story in more creative ways — and without the aid that advertising provides in stitching . With Elon Musk’s massive Twitter following, and all of the controversies related to that, the director also has to respond to a lot of press inquiries, and many of them are negative. But we can’t pretend the controversies are fully genuine and isolated. There are indeed powerful forces and entire large industries threatened by Tesla and what it represents, and some of them fight Tesla via 21st century means such as astroturfing and Twitter trolling.

There’s also the problem of traditional news outlets tending to skew anti-Tesla, which we’ve covered extensively in our “Pravduh” series of articles. Many Tesla-related headlines quickly steer the Tesla story in an unhelpful and misleading, or even fully incorrect, direction.

There’s also the rapid change at Tesla. Prices, options, new models, refreshes, software updates, and many other things change quickly. By comparison, the rate of change at other automakers can seem glacial in pace. Rolling with all of these changes, and dealing with the press inquiries on all of them, can really add up to a lot of work and easy mistakes.

On top of that, there are the legal controversies. There are the SEC’s repeated legal actions, controversy over a “pedo guy” tweet that led to a lawsuit, restraining orders for short sellers who allegedly threatened Tesla employees, and suits brought by former employees. All of this is juicy for the press to cover, and it all falls in the communications director’s lap to manage.

Between all of these things, the director’s seat can start to feel uncomfortably hot and discourage anyone from sitting in it for too long.

[Update: A section of this article has been removed after discussing the matter further with Dave Arnold. He told us he’s departing Tesla simply in order to spend more time with his wife — completely logical after a couple of years in such a position. CleanTechnica does not take any position on any legal matters and does not comment on the validity of any accusations made by any party involved.]

What’s Next For Tesla?

For the director position, Arnold is going to stay on until some time in June to help aid in the transition of responsibilities to other staff. Nothing has been said about where Arnold is going next, but he’s been great to work with as we’ve pursued various articles and videos for CleanTechnica, so we wish him the best in his future endeavors. He has come across as considerate, thoughtful, and innovative.

Tesla’s next Director of Communications, Keely Sulprizio, has been on the team for years. We also have positive impressions of Keely from the many times we’ve contacted her for answers to a wide variety of questions. She should know the challenges and the potential for fun as well as anyone. We’ll see how things change (or stay the same) with the new appointment.

It’s also worth noting that Tesla recently hired Adam Koszary, the former program manager for the Museum of English Rural Life. He will be Tesla’s new Social Media Manager. Koszary is best known for the museum’s “absolute unit” tweet that went viral and eventually caught the attention of Elon Musk.

Tesla’s social media accounts have recently taken on a very different flavor from before, with a much more fun and irreverent approach to communication. This may be Koszary and/or Musk’s doing. While some of Tesla’s older fans don’t think this approach is “mature” or “proper,” it’s a great fit for social media, where many companies are trying to make their communications fun for their fans.

I think it’s great.

 

 
 
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Written By

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to explore the Southwest US with her partner, kids, and animals. Follow her on Twitter for her latest articles and other random things: https://twitter.com/JenniferSensiba Do you think I've been helpful in your understanding of Tesla, clean energy, etc? Feel free to use my Tesla referral code to get yourself (and me) some small perks and discounts on their cars and solar products. https://www.tesla.com/referral/jennifer90562

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