Tesla's vice president of business development leaves

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Tesla Vice President of Business Development Diarmuid O'Connell

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and Tesla Vice President of Business Development Diarmuid O'Connell

Tesla Inc said on Wednesday that long-time executive Diarmuid O'Connell, vice president of business development, had left after more than a decade at the electric auto company. He was a key point person in chief executive officer Elon Musk's state-by-state battles with auto dealers over the company's right to sell cars directly to consumers.

A Tesla spokesperson confirmed O'Connell's departure to Business Insider in an emailed statement on Wednesday, saying O'Connell "has played an important role in helping Tesla grow from a small startup to a company with a presence around the world".

Jon McNeill, Tesla's president of global sales and service will take over O'Connell's team and responsibilities. As it seeks to sell a more affordable electric vehicle in high volumes, it has cranked up the legal pressure over its right to eschew the traditional dealership model and sell cars directly to consumers.

O'Connell's exit follows a spate of high-level management departures from the vehicle maker. It is rumored to have a working range of 200 to 300 miles, Reuters reported last month, which could be a sign that Tesla was specifically targeting the regional trucking market.

It also follows a spate of other executive departures in the past six months, including Tesla's director of battery technology in August.

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