Tesla loses another exec: HR vice president and head of diversity Felicia Mayo

Key Points
  • Tesla vice president of HR and head of diversity, Felicia Mayo, has departed the company.
  • Mayo, who worked at Tesla for almost two years, is one of a few black women to rise to executive ranks in Silicon Valley.
Felicia Mayo in 2016, when she worked for Juniper Networks.
Marla Aufmuth/Getty Images

Tesla vice president of human resources and head of diversity Felicia Mayo has left the company.

A company spokesperson told CNBC, "We'll miss Felicia and would like to thank her for her hard work over the last two years and wish her all the best in the future. We have a talented HR team in place that will continue to report into our VP of People & Places and will remain focused on advancing our mission and making Tesla a great place to work."

Tesla is known as a mission-driven and hard-driving workplace with significant pressure to hit ambitious goals and deadlines meted out by CEO Elon Musk. Among other things, these conditions have led to a high level of churn among Tesla executives, in recent years.

Mayo is one of a few black women leaders to break the glass ceiling and rise to executive ranks in a large, Silicon Valley tech firm. Less than 0.5% of Silicon Valley tech leadership positions are held by black women, according to 2018 statistics from the Kapor Center.

She previously served as vice president of global talent acquisition and diversity at Juniper Networks, then held the role of VP of Human Resources at Tesla for less than two years. She reported to Tesla's vice president of people and places, Kevin Kassekert, and CEO Elon Musk.

During her tenure, Tesla expanded its operations internationally, began manufacturing its Model 3 electric sedan in high volumes, and implemented controversial strategies ranging from store closures and other restructuring efforts, to giving employees a discount on Tesla vehicles, if they agreed to use and give feedback on beta versions of the company's Full Self Driving software.

Mayo's departure follows the resignation of other Tesla executives in the last year, including:

  • Tesla's former chief people officer, Gaby Toledano
  • General Counsel, Todd Maron
  • VP of Legal, Phil Rothenberg
  • CFO Deepak Ahuja (who announced his retirement at the end of a Tesla earnings call in January this year)
  • VP of Engineering, Michael Schwekutsch

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