Tesla loses head of digital to Google

Tesla has had a lot of turnover in its digital team over the past two years, but now we learn that they’ve lost their head of digital product to Google.

Hela Sheth from Katalyst Communications confirmed to the press this week that Parag Vaish, Tesla’s Head of Digital Product, Design and Content, is leaving the company to join “an undisclosed project with the secret group at Google (Area 120).”

It’s a weird way to describe what is basically a startup incubator within Google. You can learn more about their operations and products on our sister site 9to5Google.

He has a long history as a digital product executive at companies like StubHub, MSNBC, and Microsoft.

In August 2017, he joined Tesla to join its digital group and according to his LinkedIn profile, he had an extensive role:

“Responsible for all customer facing experiences for Tesla vehicle and energy sales and delivery. People management responsibility for 43 headcount (up from 8 at hire date) including Product Managers, UX/UI Designers and Content Managers.”

He listed several product launches that he oversaw:

  • Model 3 order experience
  • Model 3 matching logic
  • Model 3 home delivery
  • Model 3 contract automation
  • Semi truck reveal and reservation
  • Roadster reveal and reservation
  • In-car payment collection
  • Autopilot in-car upgrade experience
  • Tesla.com homepage
  • S/X/3 feature pages
  • EMEA Fleet selling
  • Korea Model X
  • WeChat integration in China

Sheth also says that he made improvements to product management at Tesla, including “creating a company-wide product planning model; merging energy and vehicle product development teams.”

Over the years, Google has poached several employees from Tesla.

In 2015, Google hired Tesla’s Autopilot Engineering Manager and former SpaceX Director of Flight Software.

But two can play that game as Tesla has also extensively hired from Google.

Google’s former VP of Finance, Jason Wheeler, briefly joined Tesla as CFO and they also hired Chris Evans from Google’s Project Zero to lead the company’s security team.

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