Published: Wed, May 17, 2017
Markets | By Lucia Cruz

Former SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive will leave Tesla

Former SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive will leave Tesla

Rive, a native of South Africa, founded SolarCity with financial backing from Musk.

He also made a killing by cashing out his stock.

Rive told Reuters on Monday he is leaving to pursue a new startup sometime next year. Rive, 40, said SolarCity was "healthier than it's ever been", and the time had come for him to move on.

Rive who serves as head of sales and services for Tesla Energy will not be immediately replaced.

Lyndon Rive, former SolarCity CEO, plans to leave Tesla in June.

Over the next decade, SolarCity expanded rapidly with innovative no-money-down financing schemes and a vast sales and installation operation.

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Analysts have argued for several months that last year's Tesla-SolarCity merger is hurting the Silicon Valley auto maker's valuation on the market.

In a statement, a Tesla spokeswoman credited Rive with building SolarCity into the country's top solar provider.

"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.

Tech-heavy EV maker and energy storage vendor Tesla purchased SolarCity, comfortably one of the US' top three solar installers, for around US$2.6 billion past year. The sale came as investors anxious about the solar panel installer's debt-fueled growth.

Although more solar power was brought online nationwide past year than any other source of electricity, the number of rooftop solar installations - the focus of residential and business customers - grew 19% compared with 2015. Rive's departure comes as Tesla prepares to launch the Model 3, its more affordable electric sedan, in July. As we showed before, the only reason the company's business model is competitive and even remotely viable, is due to "tax grants".

Rive's responsibilities will be divided among other leaders at Tesla, Reuters reported. 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.

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