Tesla Motors hired 3 new top executives this week, and it’s a surprise that only one has an automotive background. That one is John Walker, from Audi America, where he was general manager of sales operations. Audi is a brand that has been growing without interruption for several years, and there’s no doubt that a man who has been through this will be very valuable to a new company like Tesla. John Walker will be vice president for North American sales.
The 2 others are Ricardo Reyes, formerly head of global communications and public affairs at YouTube, and Jon Sobel, ex-group president for media of SourceForge (an open source and social media company). That is going from one end to the other end of the spectrum. I know we expect communication and marketing people to do their work, independently of the products or services of their companies, still the difference is huge. Sourceforge and Youtube are companies with millions of users of a free service, whereas Tesla has only a few hundreds customers, who paid a large sum of money for the very material product that a car is.
The advantage of newcomers is in the ability to bring new ideas. That’s needed for new services, I’m not so sure it will help when it comes to selling $100.000 cars.