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Tesla Motors CEO gets new role

August 14, 2007|Daniel Yi | Times Staff Writer

Tesla Motors Inc. founder Martin Eberhard will step down as chief executive to focus on production and research as the electric-car maker prepares to open showrooms this year.

The San Carlos, Calif.-based company said Monday that Michael Marks, an early investor in Tesla Motors, would serve as interim CEO and that Eberhard, 47, would become president of technology. Marks is a former CEO of electronics maker Flextronics International Ltd.

"Martin and the board have been planning for CEO succession since early this year," Elon Musk, chairman of Tesla Motors' board of directors and its main investor, said in a statement on the firm's website. He said a permanent CEO would be sought.

Tesla, founded in 2003, made a splash among car enthusiasts and environmentalists with its lithium-ion-battery-powered roadster capable of going from zero to 60 miles per hour in about four seconds.

The company has said it has orders for almost 600 cars, including from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The first Tesla showrooms are scheduled to open in Menlo Park, Calif., and Los Angeles' Westside before the end of the year. The cars will cost $98,000 each.

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