Elon Musk shuffles Tesla’s executive team in email

After a string of executive departures over the past several months that continued Friday with the resignations of two people in high-profile positions, CEO Elon Musk announced a series of promotions and job updates in an email sent to employees. To be clear, these are not new hires and some of these promotions were already finalized before the most recent resignations reported earlier Friday.

In other words, Musk didn’t suddenly promote a bunch of executives in response to the negative market reaction Friday to the resignations or his marijuana-sampling during a live-streamed podcast with Joe Rogan.

Still, the promotions are notable because it gives rarely provided insight into the structure of the company — as well as who is left. It also shows the increasing workload placed on a few people.

For example, Kevin Kassekert previously headed up infrastructure development, a job that included leading the construction and development of Tesla’s gigafactory near Reno, Nevada. His new title is vice president of people and places, a position that gives him responsibility of human resources — a job that was once filled by Gaby Toledano — as well as facilities, construction and infrastructure. Tesla has more than 37,000 employees and facilities all over the world, including its factory in Fremont, California.

Musk also promoted Jérôme Guillen to president of automotive. Guillen, a former Daimler Freightliner executive, will oversee all automotive operations and program management, as well as coordinate Tesla’s supply chain. Guillen previously headed up Tesla’s truck program and worldwide sales and service.

Other promotions and position updates include:

  • Felicia Mayo, who was senior HR director and head of Tesla’s diversity and inclusion program, has been promoted to vice president level and will report to both Kassekert and Musk.
  • Laurie Shelby, Tesla’s vice president of environmental, health and safety will now report directly to Musk.
  • Cindy Nicola, who heads global recruiting at Tesla, will report to both Kassekert and Musk.
  • Dave Arnold has been promoted to head of communications. Arnold fills the role after Sarah O’Brien left this month.

The letter contained a few other forward-looking statements ahead of the company’s next quarterly earnings report.

“We are about to have the most amazing quarter in our history, building and delivering more than twice as many cars as we did last quarter,” Musk wrote. “For a while, there will be a lot of fuss and noise in the media. Just ignore them. Results are what matter and we are creating the most mind-blowing growth in the history of the automotive industry.”

Tesla produced 53,339 vehicles in the second quarter. If Tesla does build and deliver more than “twice” as many as cars as it did last quarter, that means the company would hit something like 107,000 vehicles.

Obama rebukes Trump and Republicans for ‘abuses of power,’ urges Democrats to vote

Former U.S. President Barack Obama assailed President Donald Trump and Republicans on Friday, urging Democrats to deliver a check on the administration’s “abuses of power” and restore a sense of sanity to politics by voting in November’s elections.

Amazon’s cashier-free Go store is coming to NYC

A day after cutting the ribbon on its second (and largest) cashier-free convenience store in Seattle, Amazon has confirmed it will be bringing the Go concept to the City that Never Sleeps.

The Information first noted the news through a number of job listings last night. The company has since confirmed its plans in an email to TechCrunch.

“We plan to open Amazon Go in New York,” an Amazon spokesperson told TechCrunch. And that’s basically it for the statement. No information on key details like launch timeframe here, but at least the company really cut to the chase on this one.

The stores are a bit of an experiment for the company, which has been dipping its toes into the brick and mortar experience. Announced during the 2016 holiday season, Go still feels like a novelty for retail. The concept ditches cashiers, instead relying on cameras to track shoppers and charging their account when they walk out the door.

The New York store will be Amazon’s first outside of its native Seattle. Amazon does already have a retail presence, courtesy of a pair of bookstores in Manhattan. 

Ex-Trump campaign aide Papadopoulos sentenced to 14 days in prison

George Papadopoulos, a former aide to then-Republican candidate Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, was sentenced on Friday to 14 days in prison after pleading guilty last year to lying to federal agents investigating whether campaign members coordinated with Russia before the election.

Fast-growing game engine startup Unity loses its CFO

Unity Technologies, the highly valued startup behind one of the most popular game development tools, lost its CFO Mike Foley earlier this summer, Business Insider (paywalled) reports.

A company spokesperson confirmed the CFO’s departure, saying it was a “friendly and mutual decision between both parties,” while also noting that the company was searching for a replacement, had some candidates and hoped to announce more details soon.

Unity has raised north of $600 million at a valuation over $3 billion, CEO John Riccitiello confirmed to us earlier this week. In an interview at our Disrupt SF 2018 conference, Riccitiello told TechCrunch that the company’s game engine platform now powers about half of all new games.

In April, Riccitiello told the publication Cheddar that the company was on the “general path” towards an IPO. “We’re not putting out dates but I do believe the company is strong enough financially to go public now.”

The company is not the only third-party game engine tool available for developers, but Unity has become a favorite for indie developers due in large part to the breadth of integrations for various game platforms and the ease of deploying to them. The game engine company was started 14 years ago scraped from the remains of a failed video game title, but has begun to grow rapidly in the past couple years particularly due to investor bullishness around AR/VR and the potential for a real-time rendering engine to shape everything from manufacturing design to autonomous systems training.

Foley’s departure came in June, the BI report states, shortly after the company capped off a $145 million fundraise from DFJ Growth, Sequoia Capital and Silver Lake.