Tesla’s finance chief Kirkhorn unexpectedly steps down

Tesla’s finance chief Kirkhorn unexpectedly steps down

Tesla’s finance chief, Zachary Kirkhorn, has unexpectedly resigned, surprising analysts who had considered him a potential successor to CEO Elon Musk. The company did not provide a reason for Kirkhorn’s departure. Vaibhav Taneja, who is currently the head of accounting, will replace Kirkhorn and also retain his current role. Kirkhorn will remain at Tesla until the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition.

Investors have been concerned about Tesla’s executive bench and succession planning, particularly since Musk’s acquisition of Twitter in 2022. In addition to his roles at Tesla and Twitter, Musk is also the CEO of SpaceX and the owner of Neuralink. Kirkhorn was seen as a balanced and effective communicator compared to the more volatile Musk. He frequently spoke on calls with analysts and made presentations on strategy and products.

Thomas Martin, a senior portfolio manager at Globalt Investments, a Tesla investor, praised Kirkhorn’s ability to effectively communicate between Musk and other executives. Tesla’s stock was down 1% in after-hours trading.

Kirkhorn’s departure comes as Tesla prepares to deliver its delayed Cybertruck and completes a plant in Mexico for a mass-market electric vehicle that will serve as the foundation for a robotaxi. During Kirkhorn’s tenure, Tesla achieved its first quarterly profit and reached a market valuation of over $1 trillion.

In a LinkedIn post, Kirkhorn expressed his pride in the work he has done at Tesla over the past 13 years. He did not respond to inquiries on LinkedIn. Gene Munster, managing partner at Deepwater Asset Management, speculated that Kirkhorn’s decision to step down may be due to the challenges of working with Musk.

Kirkhorn’s departure is the most significant executive change at Tesla since Jerome Guillen, who oversaw the development of the company’s electric Semi truck, left in 2021. Musk thanked Kirkhorn for his contributions to Tesla in a post on Twitter.

Vaibhav Taneja, who has nearly 17 years of experience at PricewaterhouseCoopers, will replace Kirkhorn. Taneja joined solar panel maker SolarCity in 2016, the same year it was acquired by Tesla.

At a shareholder meeting in May, investors rejected a proposal to report on Tesla’s “key person” risk. Musk stated that he had no intention of leaving the company. Tesla director James Murdoch previously mentioned that Musk had identified a potential successor without disclosing the person’s name.

Tesla has recently reduced prices across all markets to prioritize sales growth and market share, which has put pressure on its margins. The company has also hinted at further price cuts in what Musk referred to as “turbulent times.” Analysts have generally accepted Tesla’s valuation and its ability to fund its ambitious growth plans, partly due to its success in reducing production costs.

Kirkhorn emphasized the importance of cost management in the industry during Tesla’s investor day in March.

The article concludes with the standard reporting information and the Thomson RushHourDaily Trust Principles.

About News Team

Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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