Earlier this month, we reported on Tesla’s ‘Head of Global Communications’, Khobi Brooklyn, leaving the automaker just a few months after her boss, Vice President of Global Communications Ricardo Reyes.
Electrek has learned that Tesla has found a new head for the PR and communications department by hiring a veteran public relations manager at Apple.
Sarah O’Brien recently updated her LinkedIn profile and is now listing her role as ‘Senior Director of Communications’ at Tesla. The company confirmed to Electrek that she joined earlier this month.
O’Brien is a veteran public relation professional. She spent the last 8 years in the Cupertino company’s PR department – most recently working on communications for the iPhone and Apple Watch.
As we highlighted when reporting on Brooklyn’s departure from the company, despite its comparatively small size (only ~3 people), Tesla’s PR department is extremely important to the automaker since it uses only minimal advertising and marketing.
Instead, it depends highly on the constant media attention on its products, which the PR department manages through responding to media inquiries, writing press releases and Tesla’s popular blog posts.
O’Brien is joining Tesla from Apple following a so-called “poaching war” between the automaker and the consumer electronic giant. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has an affectionate nickname for Apple: The ‘Tesla Graveyard‘. “They have hired people we’ve fired,” Musk said. “We always jokingly call Apple the ‘Tesla Graveyard.’ If you don’t make it at Tesla, you go work at Apple”.
Tesla’s senior engineering staff and leadership are full of former Apple directors and VPs, while the Cupertino-based company hired quite a few former Tesla engineers, but rarely any senior leadership with the exception of Chris Porritt, Tesla’s former Vice President of Vehicle Engineering, earlier this year.