Tesla’s chief people officer takes leave of absence

Tesla’s chief people officer Gaby Toledano, and one of the few female executives at the automaker, is on leave of absence 15 months after taking the senior management position.

The company confirmed she was on leave and did not provide a timeline of when she might return or if this move was more permanent.

“Gaby previously asked to go on leave to spend time with her family, and we support that. The HR team has been sharing her responsibilities,” the company said in a statement.

Toledano joined Tesla in May 2017 after 10 years on the executive team at video game publisher Electronic Arts. She has also held HR leadership positions at Siebel Systems, Microsoft and Oracle. She replaced Arnnon Geshuri, who left the company after eight years amid complaints about work conditions at its Fremont factory.

Unlike the company’s public CEO Elon Musk, Toledano was one of the many in Tesla’s senior management team who rarely made public appearances, if any. The company has long eschewed attention on its executives, with the occasional exception of chief designer Franz von Holzhausen and CTO JB Straubel.

Toledano and several other executives made a rare public appearance in June when Musk pulled them on stage at Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting.

Toledano’s leave follows the departure of Sarah O’Brien, who headed up Tesla’s communications team. Laurie Shelby, who heads the company’s environmental, health and safety efforts, and Cindy Nicola, head of global recruiting, are the last remaining female executives at the company.

Doug Field, senior vice president of engineering, took what the company described as a leave of absence from the company in May. At the time, the company said “Doug is just taking some time off to recharge and spend time with his family. He has not left Tesla.”

Field left the company for good in July.