One of Tesla’s top sales executives and the creator of its store experience — George Blankenship — left the company earlier this month, according to Blankenship’s LinkedIn page, and first reported by the San Jose Mercury News Thursday. Blankenship is a former Apple VP who helped craft Apple’s stores, and now lists his job on LinkedIn as “Director of Smiles” and “Blankenship Family Planner.”
On his LinkedIn page Blankenship also lists his previous roles at Tesla as well as: “November 2013 — Done at Tesla.” Tesla didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Blankenship told the San Jose Mercury News that he’s retiring to spend more time with his family.
I did an onstage interview with Blankenship at our Roadmap 2012 conference about the process he went through to design the Tesla store experience:
I also did a video interview him when the first experiential Tesla store opened on Santana Row in San Jose, California back in spring 2011. Blankenship’s motto at Tesla was to create a store that would put a smile on anyone’s face who walked in.
Tesla has had a tough month. There’s been three accident-related fires within the last few months and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into the two fires that happened in the U.S. this week. They’re looking to see if Tesla needs to make any changes to the design of the flat battery pack on the bottom of the car. Tesla’s stock has also fallen in recent weeks to around $122.10 at closing.