Tesla’s long-term chief financial officer Deepak Ahuja is retiring from the company after 11 years of solid service. This was made known on Wednesday by Telsa CEO Elon Musk.
It’s making the second time Ahuja has left Tesla in just four years. Earlier in 2015, the CFO left as one of the Tesla's longest-serving executives in the company. However, he rejoined the company two years later, in 2017, replacing Jason Wheeler, then Tesla CFO who resigned abruptly.
Tesla former vice president of finance, Zach Kirkhorn will be taking over from Ahuja as the new CFO. And Ahuja described his delight that Zach is moving into the CFO role. He stated that Zach over time has proven his worth, having worked under many tough challenges.
CEO Elon Musk announced the Tesla CFO change after discussing the company's fourth-quarter earnings results with analysts in a conference call. And in response to the announcement, Tesla shares fell about 5 percent after Wednesday market closure.
Kirkhorn joined Tesla in 2010, after serving as a business analyst at McKinsey & Co. In his response, Kirkhorn stated that right from the Roadster program, he has been a deep part of every major operation at the electric vehicle company. He said that the company had started in a very strong financial foundation in 2019, acknowledging that there are enough funds to execute any new program as well as develop new technologies.
Kirkhorn has ascended quickly to the role of Tesla CFO, a company worth over $50 billion in market capitalization. However, his prudent financial advice, according to Tesla former employee, has been ignored at least once by Elon Musk. At a time the CEO wanted to apportion the sum of $7 million to an automation project at the company's Fremont factory. The project had earlier been viewed by Kirkhorn as non-essential. Musk ignored the new appealing equipment and the fund was used on other on-going projects to cover overages.
Ahuja will "continue to be at Tesla for a few more months, and will continue to serve as a senior adviser to Tesla for years to come." Musk said on Wednesday on the earnings call.
It was in July 2008, the worst possible time that Ahuja first joined Tesla as CFO, and he was there when the automobile company went public in 2010.
Tesla's finance team in the past years has witnessed a high turnover. An instance was when Dave Morton, a chief accounting officer spent less than a month at the company. The past six months also has seen other long-time veterans resigning from the company. One of them is a senior director of engineering who joined Tesla since 2012, Charles Mwangi. Also, Jeremy Snyder who was one of Tesla's first-ever sales hires has recently left the company. According to Snyder’s LinkedIn profile, he left Tesla’s head of global business development position since August.