It’s always a great sign when you’re a multibillion-dollar company and everyone is confused if you even have a functioning legal department. It’s an even better sign when you’re a company with a CEO prone to fling the stock price into the occasional death spiral in order to troll social media companies and then lock himself in a disastrous legal fight that no one expects him to win. At least no one who takes the modicum of effort to look at either the facts or law.
Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that David Searle, Tesla’s acting legal head, had left the company. Searle had been overseeing a probe into the company’s supply chain, specifically its sourcing of glass, that had reportedly gotten Tesla workers fired. The company, however, has its own version of the story: “Nuh-uh.”
“Tesla’s just under a relentless attack from so many. So I think we just have to have like a strong litigation group that fights back, essentially. A lot of really talented lawyers have sort of sent in their resumes, and we’re actually going through that. We’re going to be hiring a bunch of people who responded to my tweet. We’re under constant attack. It’s insane,” Elon Musk told me.
Given this news that there may not be anyone on top, he may want to pump the brakes on hiring that hardcore team… though the car will probably drive itself into the wall anyway.
It gets worse! The Bloomberg article — based on three sources purportedly close to the situation — claimed Searle left weeks ago. Even if Tesla’s right and Searle is still there — in some capacity — a disconnect of this magnitude is as bad as if he actually did leave. When people feel so convinced that the head of the legal department has turned on autopilot that they’re willing to tell the press, that’s a sign of deep problems within that department and the company’s whole internal communication set up.
Totally understand why speculators pumped up this stock to $1200/share at one point. Genius work Wall Street, no notes.
Tesla Claims Its Head Of Legal Never Left, Actually [Jalopnik]
Tesla Legal Chief Who Led Purchasing Probe Exits EV Maker [Bloomberg]
Tesla calls out Bloomberg for falsely claiming David Searle left the company [Teslarati]
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.