Tesla GC Quits, Jonathan Chang Is Next Up

By William Vogeler, Esq. on March 13, 2019 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Tesla's general counsel quit after just two months, but nobody was really surprised.

Dane Butswinkas, who started at Tesla in December, was on his way out in February. He was the fifth GC at the company in 10 years.

Jonathan Chang, who has been vice president of legal, will be the sixth. If we're playing averages, he should make it to the end of next year.

"No Picnic"

As Forbes reported, "working for billionaire Elon Musk is no picnic." Reuters said at least 40 high-level Tesla executives left the company between 2016 and 2018.

This time, Butswinkas is leaving because of a "poor cultural fit." He will return to his trial practice in Washington, DC, and will resume his work as outside counsel for Tesla.

His resignation came after the mercurial Musk tweeted product projections, then backed off from them. It wasn't the first time the CEO had tweeted himself into trouble.

Last year, he said he might take the company private at $420 a share. That tweet cost him and the company about $20 million after the Securities and Exchange Commission fined him for misleading investors.

GC's Problem

Apparently, that is par for the course. Musk later tweeted it was "worth it."

Now it's Chang's problem. Time will tell whether it was worth it.

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