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Tesla Motors Appoints New Daimler Executive on Board

Dec. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Tesla Motors Inc., the maker of electric vehicles led by billionaire Elon Musk, said Daimler AG’s Herbert Kohler resigned from its board and was replaced by another executive at the German automaker.

Kohler, a member of Palo Alto, California-based Tesla’s board since Daimler invested in the company in 2009, submitted his resignation on Dec. 12, according to a regulatory filing. Harald Kroeger, Daimler’s vice president of electrics, electronics and e-Drive, was appointed director, Tesla said.

The change is the “result of a natural transition of responsibilities at Daimler AG with respect to the development of electric vehicle powertrains,” Tesla said in the filing, without elaborating.

Daimler’s investment in Tesla helped the startup carmaker remain in operation and overcome early cash and production challenges. The company named for inventor Nikola Tesla subsequently qualified for $465 million in federal loans to develop and build electric cars at a retooled California plant and won additional investments from Toyota Motor Corp. and battery maker Panasonic Corp.

Musk this month said Tesla is cash flow positive, and the carmaker has said it may earn its first profit next year from sales of battery-powered Model S sedans.

Tesla rose 0.6 percent to $34.59 at 4:30 p.m. in New York, and has gained 21 percent this year. The board change was announced after the close.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Ohnsman in Los Angeles at aohnsman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at jbutters@bloomberg.net

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