Get access to Protocol
The electric carmaker has dissolved its PR department, according to Electrek. The company has been increasingly sparse in its responses to journalists in recent years, leading to at least one reporter covering it having a mild existential crisis and another confirming the only emails he's gotten from the department have been to say they've been getting his emails.
There are so many reasons why a Fortune 200 company would want to have a public relations department, from communicating about new products, to heading off damaging stories, and working through safety issues. But when you have Elon Musk and his Twitter account with 39 million followers at the helm, those are apparently all minor concerns. And when there are pseudo-journalistic entities and that throng of Musk acolytes who will defend him and attack anyone who questions Musk, it's not too difficult to see why you might not bother continuing to staff up the department. Tesla's last comms director, Keely Sulprizio, left the company in December and jumped to Impossible Foods in March.
I didn't reach out to Tesla for comment on this bulletin because Elon never responds to my tweets.
Mike Murphy ( @mcwm) is the director of special projects at Protocol, focusing on the industries being rapidly upended by technology and the companies disrupting incumbents. Previously, Mike was the technology editor at Quartz, where he frequently wrote on robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.