Zach Kirkhorn announced as new Tesla Inc CFO

Elon Musk announced the appointment of Zach Kirkhorn as Tesla's new CFO. Market responds negatively.

Zach Kirkhorn will take over as CFO of Tesla from Deepak Ahuja, who has retired. This is Deepak’s second retirement, his first being in 2015. He rejoined the company in 2017. 

Deepak will spend a few months grooming Zach, and will continue to serve as a senior adviser. 

Elon Musk thanked Deepak in a tweet and wished him happiness. 

This comes after a wave of Tesla executives resigned in 2018, including chief accounting officer Dave Morton and vice president of worldwide finance Justin McAnear. 

Zach started his career with Microsoft and then joined McKinsey & Co. before moving to Tesla in 2010. 

In an interview with Fortune, Elon said that he didn’t think the few years Zach spent at Harvard Business School to earn his MBA were necessary. 

“Zach’s incredibly talented and has made a huge contribution to Tesla over the years,” Elon said. “He is a very well-known quantity to the whole team and has the respect of the whole team.”

Even if Elon is excited about his new appointment, shareholders didn’t take the news very well. Paired with an earnings announcement that came short of analysts’ estimates for fourth quarter profits, news of the new CFO brought the stock down 5.1 percent to $293 the next day. 

Kirkhorn has already stepped up to the role, reassuring shareholders that he feels Tesla is starting 2019 with a very strong financial foundation. 

“We have enough cash to continue launching new programs and developing new technologies, and we’re able to service upcoming debt obligations with our forecasted cash flows,” he says.