Zach Kirkhorn—chief financial officer of Tesla—is stepping down from his position as of Friday (Aug. 11). Vaibhav Taneja, the company’s chief accounting officer, is set to succeed him and will handle both roles simultaneously.
The electric car (EV) manufacturer announced the staffing change in a public filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The document also refers to Kirkhorn as Tesla’s “master of coin,” an honorific that was added to his title shortly after the company bought $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin in 2021. The SEC filing doesn’t specify if Taneja is being promoted to master of coin too.
“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.” —Zach Kirkhorn announcing his departure on LinkedIn
The shakeup comes amid shareholder frustration with CEO Elon Musk’s divided attention. In addition to Tesla, Musk is CEO of spacecraft manufacturer SpaceX and neurotechnology firm Neuralink, as well as executive chair and chief technology officer at X, formerly known as Twitter.
Kirkhorn is a big loss for the company’s executive team. A 13-year Tesla veteran, he was promoted to CFO after serving as vice president of finance. Kirkhorn is the third Tesla CFO to resign in just six years, including the abrupt and highly scrutinized departure of Jason Wheeler in 2017.
Tesla’s second-in-command is senior vice president Tom Zhu, who was promoted to a more supervisory role a few months after Musk acquired Twitter.
Tesla stock was down about 1% at market close in New York, after briefly dropping as much as 3%. The company wasn’t immediately available for comment.