Elon Musk announces exit of Tesla CFO -- for the second time

At the end of Tesla’s quarterly earnings call late Wednesday, CEO Elon Musk made a surprise announcement: After almost 11 years at the electric-car maker, Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja is retiring.

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Tesla shares fell sharply in after-hours trading Wednesday and continued declining Thursday.

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TSLATESLA INC.881.56-16.54-1.84%

Ahuja previously left Tesla in 2015, when he was also the CFO, for a two-year stint with a company called FireEye Inc., a public cybersecurity company, but returned to Tesla as CFO in March 2017, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He will be replaced by Zach Kirkhorn, the company’s vice president of finance. Kirkhorn, 34, started with Tesla in 2010; since then he’s been promoted just about every two years, according to his LinkedIn profile. Kirkhorn previously worked as a business analyst at McKinsey & Co.

"I feel really good about Zach taking over," Ahuja said during the call. "He's proven himself over the years with many tough challenges he's worked on."

Ahuja will remain an outside adviser to Tesla, Musk said during the call, possibly for “years to come.”


Tesla has seen a high rate of executive turnovers in recent months: In September, Vice President of Global Supply Management Liam O’Connor resigned from the company.

That took place just weeks after Chief Accounting Officer Dave Morton resigned -- roughly a month after he joined the company -- citing intense public scrutiny of the company.