SAN FRANCISCO -- Zach Kirkhorn landed his first job out of school with McKinsey & Co. and joined Tesla Inc. while still in his mid-20s. He’s now about to take over a finance department that’s been through months of tumult.
Kirkhorn, 34, will become CFO of the electric vehicle maker after a few months more grooming by his predecessor, Deepak Ahuja. CEO Elon Musk revealed the shake-up in the closing minutes of Tesla’s earnings called Wednesday, and the surprise announcement sent shares tumbling as much as 5.9 percent in after-hours trading. The move even surprised one of Tesla's most bullish analysts, raising new questions about the company's senior management.
Tesla experienced a wave of executive departures in 2018 that hit the finance team particularly hard. Chief Accounting Officer Dave Morton resigned in September after less than a month. Justin McAnear, vice president of worldwide finance, left in October.
Ahuja, 56, retired in 2015 but returned in 2017 when his successor, Jason Wheeler, announced he’d quit after just 15 months. He plans to go back into retirement and continue to serve as a senior adviser, probably for several years, according to Musk.
In a tweet, the billionaire thanked Ahuja and wished him happiness.