Lyndon Rive, Elon Musk’s Cousin And Former SolarCity CEO To Exit Tesla

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Lyndon Rive, founder and former chief executive officer of SolarCity, will leave Tesla in June, he said on Monday. Rive, who created the solar company with his older brother Peter Rive and cousin Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla) in 2006, was most recently the vice president of Tesla’s energy division.

Why is Rive leaving Tesla?

In an interview with Reuters, SolarCity’s former CEO said he wanted to start a new company in 2018 and spend more time with his family. Since last year, SolarCity’s former CEO had been serving as head of sales and service for Tesla’s energy division. Rive was SolarCity’s CEO before the company merged with Tesla in November. In a statement, the automaker said that Rive co-founded the solar company about 11 years ago and built it into the number one solar provider in the country.

“Thanks in large part to the foundation Lyndon helped create, Tesla has now built the world’s first integrated sustainable energy company, from generation to storage to transportation,” the automaker said. “We know he’s an entrepreneur at heart, and we wish him the very best on his next venture.”

Rive’s duties will be distributed among Tesla leadership, the automaker said. News of his departure comes only days after the EV maker started taking orders for its new solar product: solar shingles. The product will be replacing the boxy panels that attach to roofs, notes The Los Angeles Times.

SolarCity “healthier” than ever

Rive said that the solar panel installer is “healthier” than it has ever been, and it is time for him to move on. The former SolarCity CEO also said that he started to consider leaving the company a few months ago. Further, he told Reuters that his skill set and what he loves doing are running and starting companies.

“I can hand off the baton to somebody else and give myself the opportunity to do something else that could also have another impact,” he said.

Tesla’s vice president of global infrastructure operations, Cal Lankton, will assume the expanded role of head of sales and operations for energy products, notes CNBC.

The automaker told Reuters that Lyndon Rive’s elder brother Peter Rive will remain with the company.

Musk and his solar ambitions

Tesla acquired the clean energy giant in August 2016 for $2.6 billion. Musk has been planning for a carbon-free energy and transportation company, and his ambitions reached a new milestone with the SolarCity acquisition. At that time, investors were not very happy with the acquisition and were worried about SolarCity’s debt-fueled growth.

Last fall, Musk and Rive unveiled a line of high-design, solar power-generating roof tiles at an event at Universal Studios Hollywood. The roof tiles generate electricity without traditional rooftop panels. Musk and his company are trying to target consumers who are not attracted to conventional solar panels, notes the LA Times.

Tesla is currently in the process of integrating the solar company and is planning to release a solar roof offering that will ultimately be built at a factory the solar panel installer was building in upstate New York.

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