A top Tesla attorney, Lynn Miller, has exited Elon Musk’s electric car company and is joining Plus as general counsel, the autonomous trucking start-up announced Tuesday.
Founded in 2016 and once known as PlusAI, the company recently agreed to go public via a special purpose acquisition deal with Hennessy Capital Investment Corp. V. Plus is following in the footsteps of TuSimple, another autonomous trucking start-up now trading on Nasdaq.
Tesla has its own ambitions in heavy-duty vehicles and driverless systems. However, Tesla’s former president of heavy trucking, Jerome Guillen, recently left the company, and questions are swirling about whether and when Tesla will finally be able to manufacture the all-electric Semi it first showed off in 2017. In March, CEO Elon Musk said a tight supply of battery cells was making it hard to scale Semi production, but he predicted the situation would become “less onerous next year.”
Miller’s most recent role at Tesla was deputy general counsel, according to Plus. She follows Tesla‘s longstanding vice president of legal and acting general counsel, Al Prescott, who left in April to join Luminar, a lidar start-up. Tesla previously lost three general counsels over the course of a year in 2018 and 2019.
Further shake-ups at the top of Tesla’s legal department could prove challenging at a time when the company is facing new lawsuits, ongoing federal probes and trials that were long-delayed due to the impact of Covid on U.S. courts.
During her 7½-year tenure at Tesla, Miller last served as deputy general counsel for the company’s litigation, regulatory and privacy groups, according to her LinkedIn profile. She was previously a senior litigation manager for Apple for more than a decade.
In 2016, Law.com reported, Miller defeated “a major securities suit that questioned the safety of Tesla’s Model S.”
Plus, which is headquartered in Cupertino, California, with R&D offices in China, has said it expects to raise $500 million in gross proceeds from its public listing via SPAC. The funds should help Plus develop and commercialize their driverless trucking technology.
The start-up also announced that it had nabbed new hires for senior director to VP-level roles, including Chuck Joseph from Amazon Transportation Services, Lori Heino-Royer from Daimler North America Trucks, and Wiley Deck from the U.S. Department of Transportation.