An awkward moment arose during Tesla’s quarterly earnings call Wednesday: while Elon Musk was explaining his company’s plans to ramp up its production of the Model 3, a Bloomberg reporter tweeted that Tesla’s head of global sales, John McNeill, had just accepted a job as chief operating officer at Lyft.
Minutes later, Musk acknowledged the news on the call. “Actually, one thing we forgot to mention is John McNeill, who is heading up our sales and service group is departing the company. We wish him well in his future career. And going forward, I will be having the sales and service report directly to me.”
He added, “There are no plans to search for a replacement.”
Lyft has been on a bit of a roll in the hiring department lately, poaching top talent from Google, Uber, and now Tesla as it grows and expands into new markets and products. The ride-hailing company raised $1 billion in a funding round led by CapitalG, Alphabet’s venture capital arm, and is currently valued at $11.5 billion. Lyft’s founders say McNeill will seek to capitalize on Lyft’s rapid growth in 2017.
McNeill was known for personally responding to Tesla customers who were angry over service issues in online forums. As the electric carmaker’s global sales and service president, McNeill stood to earn a $700,000 bonus if the company met its vehicle delivery target during the last two quarters of 2017, a task made nearly impossible by delays in Model 3 production.
McNeill is one of the more high-profile departures from Tesla. Uber recently poached the company’s lead battery expert to help run its “flying car” project.