Bloomberg Law
Free Newsletter Sign Up
Bloomberg Law
Welcome
Go
Free Newsletter Sign Up

Tesla Lawyer Jumps to Alphabet’s Wing as Musk Mulls Twitter Deal

May 17, 2022, 5:00 PM

Tesla Inc.‘s associate general counsel for global compliance has quit to join Alphabet Inc.’s drone delivery business while Elon Musk ponders a takeover of Twitter Inc.

Angela Chadwick, who spent nearly the past four years in her role at Tesla, is the new general counsel for Wing Aviation, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company said.

“I had the opportunity to play a role in Tesla’s growth during a period of significant expansion,” Chadwick said in a statement. “I’m thrilled to bring that experience with me.”

Wing last month began its largest-ever drone test in Texas after elevating new-age aircraft designer Adam Woodworth to its top executive role in February. Wing was without a general counsel since the exit last year of Nancy Egan—now chief policy and administrative officer at air taxi startup Kitty Hawk Corp.

Musk, Tesla’s chief executive officer and “technoking,” is leveraging his significant stock holdings in the electric carmaker to help fund his potential $44 billion buy of Twitter. He is also publicly sparring with the social media company’s legal team.

The Twitter deal is “temporarily on hold” as Musk pushes for an audit of allegedly fake accounts. Musk said Monday a purchase of Twitter at a lower price is possible, amid claims that he may have violated a non-disparagement agreement.

Tesla Turnover

Chadwick left Tesla after the company ushered in its third top lawyer in three years—and sixth since late 2018—with the promotion of David Searle to acting head of legal.

She joined Tesla in 2018 after working as a longtime lawyer and chief compliance officer for the Atlanta Housing Authority, Georgia’s largest housing agency. During that time Chadwick also served as a magistrate judge in Fulton County, Ga., and pursued her MBA from Pennsylvania University’s Wharton School of Business.

Chadwick follows several other Tesla lawyers heading for the door this year.

Tesla’s top Black executive, attorney and former human resources head Valerie Capers Workman, left in January to take the top legal job at Handshake, a career placement services startup recently valued at $3.5 billion.

Workman left a month before California’s civil rights regulator sued Tesla over allegations of “pervasive racism” at the company’s massive automobile factory in Fremont, Calif., where Chadwick was based.

M. Yusuf Mohamed, a longtime deputy general counsel for employment and immigration at Tesla, departed in December and is now taking a sabbatical, according to his LinkedIn profile. Candace Jackman, a former deputy general counsel for litigation, left Tesla that same month.

Jackman landed a new role this month as deputy general counsel for litigation and intellectual property at Etsy Inc., an e-commerce company currently embroiled in a fee dispute with online vendors.

Brain Venture

Bloomberg News reported that Musk’s point man on the Twitter transaction is Jared Birchall, a longtime adviser to Musk’s fortune who is also chief executive officer for Neuralink Corp., a neurotechnology startup co-founded by Musk in 2017.

Neuralink earlier this year said it was drawing closer to human trials for its brain implant technology, although the company was also hit with a complaint from an animal rights group alleging that test monkeys were mistreated.

Max Hodak, a former co-founder and president of Neuralink who left the artificial intelligence company last year, invested earlier this year in Synchron Inc., one of several competitors that is also seeking to develop brain-machine interfaces.

Neuralink’s small legal group has experienced other changes in recent months.

Alex Feerst, hired in mid-2019 as Neuralink’s general counsel, left the San Francisco-based company late last year to become founder and CEO of Murmuration Labs LLC, a software startup in the decentralized finance space. Neither Feerst nor Neuralink responded to requests for comment about his departure.

Neuralink hired Philip Mao, a former senior counsel at autonomous vehicle technology company Pony.ai Inc., as a deputy general counsel around the time of Feerst’s departure last September. The Fremont-based Mao was joined at Neuralink this past January by fellow deputy general counsel Alexandrine Huck-Ananou, a former senior intellectual property associate at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

Neither she nor Mao responded to requests for comment.

Neuralink, like the Musk-controlled Tesla, has in recent years moved some of its operations from California to Texas.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com