Tesla announced today that its longtime general counsel Todd Maron is leaving the company in January and he will be replaced by Dane Butswinkas, Chairman of Williams & Connolly and “one of the world’s top practicing trial lawyers.”

Maron has been with Tesla since 2013 and his role has expanded beyond the traditional responsibilities of general counsel partly through his relationship with CEO Elon Musk, who he used to represent as his divorce lawyer.

According to a press release, Tesla and Maron have been working on a transition plan since July 2018.

Maron commented on leaving the automaker:

“Being part of Tesla for the last five years has been the highlight of my career. Tesla has been like family to me, and I am extremely grateful to Elon, the board, the executive team, and everyone at Tesla for allowing me to play a part in this incredible company,”

Dane Butswinkas, Tesla’s new general counsel, also commented on leaving his firm – though he “will retain a relationship” with them:

“Williams & Connolly will always have been my first home. The lawyers there are the finest in the world. After 30 years as a trial lawyer at Williams & Connolly, I would have never imagined joining a company in-house. But Tesla presents a unique and inspiring opportunity. Tesla’s mission is bigger than Tesla – one that is critical to the future of our planet. It’s hard to identify a mission more timely, more essential, or more worth fighting for.”

At Tesla, Butswinkas will be reporting directly to Musk and he will oversee Tesla’s legal and government relations teams.

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