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Tesla's general counsel resigns

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Tesla's general counsel resigns

Tesla Inc.'s general counsel Jonathan Chang has left the electric-vehicle maker to take up the same role at artificial intelligence startup SambaNova Systems Inc., according to a Dec. 12 release.

Chang became Tesla's top lawyer in February after his predecessor Dane Butswinkas resigned that month. Butswinkas was appointed in December 2018 to replace Todd Maron, who had led Tesla's legal department since 2013.

Tesla did not immediately respond to S&P Global Market Intelligence's request for comment.

During his 9.5-month tenure, Chang oversaw a number of legal issues that the company and its CEO Elon Musk faced. A week after Chang's appointment, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission asked a federal judge to hold Musk in contempt for his Feb. 19 tweet, in which Musk made a forecast of Tesla's 2019 production output.

The tweet allegedly violated a 2018 agreement that requires Tesla to approve Musk's social media posts. Musk and the SEC settled the case in April.

In August, retailer Walmart Inc. sued the company's solar arm after a series of fires that were allegedly sparked by solar panels installed by SolarCity Corp., which Tesla acquired in 2016. Walmart and Tesla reached an out-of-court settlement in November.