One of Tesla's top lawyers has left the company: report

  • One of Tesla's most senior lawyers has left the automaker, Bloomberg reports.
  • Phil Rothenberg, who was a vice president in Tesla's legal department, reportedly started a new position as the general counsel at the hospitality startup Sonder on November 5.
  • Tesla and Rothenberg did not immediately respond to Business Insider's requests for comment.

One of Tesla's most senior lawyers has left the automaker, Bloomberg reports. Phil Rothenberg, who was a vice president in Tesla's legal department, reportedly started a new position as the general counsel at the hospitality startup Sonder on November 5.

"It’s been a privilege to watch firsthand as Tesla grew from a niche automaker to having one of the top-selling vehicles in the US," Rothenberg told Bloomberg. "I’ll always be a supporter and believer in the company, its leadership, and its mission. I worked with Tesla to ensure a smooth transition of my responsibilities."

Tesla, Sonder, and Rothenberg did not immediately respond to Business Insider's requests for comment.

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Rothenberg had previously worked at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), according to his LinkedIn page. As part of a settlement with Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the SEC had required the automaker to have a lawyer with experience in securities on staff to monitor social media posts made by senior officers. The SEC had sued Musk for allegedly making "false and misleading statements" via Twitter in August about the possibility of taking Tesla private.

According to Rothenberg's LinkedIn page, he started working for Tesla in 2011 as an associate general counsel. He had been a vice president in its legal department since July 2017. 

Tesla has experienced a high rate of executive turnover this year, though a company representative said in September that its attrition rate among employees at the "director" level or higher had fallen by double digits in the past 12 months. Since the beginning of September, Tesla has lost senior employees in its communications, finance, human resources, and automotive departments.

Have a Tesla news tip? Contact this reporter at mmatousek@businessinsider.com.

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