In a significant corporate reshuffle, Tesla, the world’s top automaker in valuation, announced on Monday that its chief financial officer, Zachary Kirkhorn, is stepping down.
After a remarkable 13-year journey with the company, Kirkhorn will make way for Vaibhav Taneja, currently heading the accounting division. While Kirkhorn will bid his final adieu at the end of this year, he remains committed to ensuring a smooth handover.
Kirkhorn’s time at Tesla saw monumental achievements. Under his financial leadership since 2019, the company launched the mass-market Model 3 compact sedan, securing its first-ever quarterly profit.
Furthermore, Tesla’s market valuation soared past the $1 trillion mark, cementing its dominance in the auto industry.
Recalling his tenure, Kirkhorn mentioned, “Being a part of this company is a special experience and I’m extremely proud of the work we’ve done together since I joined over 13 years ago,” in a LinkedIn post.
Gene Munster of Deepwater Asset Management observed, “That he’s going to be around until the end of the year is evidence that this is just for personal reasons.” Munster hinted at the challenges of working alongside Tesla’s dynamic CEO, Elon Musk.
The new CFO, Taneja, 45, joined the Tesla family after the company’s acquisition of SolarCity in 2016. Along with the CFO role, he will retain his duties as chief accounting officer. This position, humorously referred to as “Master of Coin”, will be crucial as Tesla navigates an industry landscape that Musk described as “turbulent times”.
Recently, the Austin-based automaker implemented price reductions for its vehicles, emphasizing sales growth and expanding market share. This strategic move, however, also impacted its industry-leading profit margins. Musk, who not only helms Tesla but also SpaceX, Neuralink, the Boring Company, and recently the social media platform X (previously Twitter), has reportedly hinted at further price adjustments in response to changing market conditions.
Interestingly, Kirkhorn had been seen as a potential successor to Musk, addressing investor concerns about Tesla’s future leadership plans, according to the Wall Street Journal.