Tesla Chief Financial Officer and “Master of Coin” Zachary Kirkhorn officially left his position at the world’s most valuable automaker on August 4 after his 13 years of service, as per a regulatory filing.
Tesla appointed its current Chief Accounting Officer, Vaibhav Taneja, as the new Chief Financial Officer. However, the ex-CFO will stay at the automaker until the end of the year to prepare the company for the organizational changes.
“This morning Tesla announced that I’ve stepped down from my role as Chief Financial Officer, succeeded by our Chief Accounting Officer, Vaibhav Taneja. 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. As I shift my responsibilities to support this transition, I want to thank the talented, passionate, and hard-working employees at Tesla, who have accomplished things many thought not possible. I also want to thank Elon for his leadership and optimism, which has inspired so many people.”Zachary Kirkhorn, Former CFO at Tesla (via LinkedIn)
Unfortunately, neither Mr. Zachary Kirkhorn nor Tesla elaborated on the details of his sudden exit. It also remains unclear if Taneja will get the Master of Coin position.
What’s the big deal?
Zachary Kirkhorn’s sudden departure from Tesla worried many investors regarding that company’s succession plan, as some speculated that he was one of the top candidates to replace CEO Elon Musk in the future.
As Reuters noted, the former CFO was soft-spoken, perfectly harmonizing with CEO Musk’s erratic personality.
“He was able to be an effective liaison communicator between Elon and other executives …that would be a skillset that is hard to come by and very valuable but hard to quantify.”Thomas Martin, Globalt Investments’ Senior Portfolio Manager
It must also be noted that Tesla managed to record its first-ever quarterly profit during Kirkhorn’s term. It was also the time when the automaker officially released the famous Tesla Model 3, reaching over $1 trillion market valuation.
His resignation from his duties at Tesla signifies the most major shake-up at the automaker since long-time exec Jeromoe Guillen left in 2021.
Kirkhorn was initially a Senior Financial Analyst at Tesla in 2010. The company promoted him five times, advancing to the CFO position in 2019. His contributions to Tesla are indeed remarkable, as he aided the company to record consistent profit and repaid approximately $10 billion of debt.
Tesla CEO Musk thanked the former CFO in an X post.
“I would like to thank Zach Kirkhorn for his many contributions to Tesla over the course of 13 often difficult years. Much appreciated and best wishes for the next stage of his career.”Tesla CEO Elon Musk (via Twitter/X)
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The announcements did not mention anything about the reasons behind Zach Kirkhorn’s departure and future plans. We can expect to learn more about his future career prospects when he lands a new job at another major company. Hopefully, the new Tesla CFO will be able to match his competence to ensure the company’s profitability in the coming years.