Tesla CFO Zachary Kirkhorn steps down

EV giant taps Vaibhav Taneja as new finance chief

Tesla Chief Financial Officer and so-called "master of coin" Zachary Kirkhorn has stepped down from his role and will be leaving the electric-vehicle maker at the end of 2023 after 13 years at the company.

Tesla announced the move in a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing dated Aug. 4, saying it has appointed Chief Accounting Officer Vaibhav Taneja as Kirkhorn's replacement.

A Tesla logo

A Tesla corporate logo hangs on the front of their store in Santa Monica on April 10, 2023, in Los Angeles, California. Tesla CFO Zachary Kirkhorn stepped down last week, the company said. ((Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images) / Getty Images)

In a LinkedIn post on Monday, Kirkhorn acknowledged the news and expressed gratitude toward his Tesla colleagues, including CEO Elon Musk.

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"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," he wrote. "I also want to thank Elon for his leadership and optimism, which has inspired so many people."

Tesla CEO Elon Musk

Elon Musk in front of Tesla logo. The electric vehicle giant announced CFO Zachary Kirkhorn has been replaced by chief accounting officer  (Getty Images / Getty Images)

Kirkhorn took over as CFO at Tesla in 2019. During his tenure, the company posted its first quarterly profit and hit a market valuation of more than $1 trillion.

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Tesla did not reveal the reason for Kirkhorn's departure, but speculation is already swirling. 

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TSLA TESLA INC. 238.83 -1.25 -0.52%

Tesla, Inc.

"That he's going to be around until the end of the year is evidence that this is just for personal reasons and the personal reason is likely that working with Elon Musk is really hard and he's done it for 13 years," said Gene Munster, managing partner at Deepwater Asset Management.

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Taneja, 45, joined Tesla after the EV maker acquired SolarCity in 2016. He takes on the CFO position in addition to his role as chief accounting officer, the company said.

Reuters contributed to this report.