Tesla loses 2 senior financial execs as Model 3 progress report looms
19 March 2018 - Autoblog
An update on Model 3 production progress is expected next month
Two of Tesla's most senior financial executives have left the company in successive weeks as the electric car maker approaches the end of its first quarter and prepares to update investors and industry analysts on its progress ramping up production of the closely watched Model 3 sedan.
Bloomberg reports that Susan Repo, Tesla's corporate treasurer and vice president of finance, has left the company to become chief financial officer at another company. Her departure comes on the heels of the exit of Chief Accounting Officer Eric Branderiz, who left "for personal reasons," Tesla said in a March 7 SEC filing.
In a statement sent to Autoblog, a Tesla spokesperson said "We'd like to thank Susan for her five-year contribution to Tesla and congratulate her on becoming a CFO. Tesla's Ron Klein has been promoted to Treasurer." Klein's previous job title was assistant treasurer, principal, according to his LinkedIn profile.
The company is expected to report production and delivery numbers in early April for the first quarter. Investors will be closely watching to see whether Tesla has hit its target of producing 2,500 Model 3s per week, a target that has been delayed several times by CEO Elon Musk amid well-publicized "production hell" issues affecting output.
Tesla in its most recent letter to investors said it expects to begin generating positive quarterly income "at some point in 2018" on a sustained basis and said it expected to be producing 2,500 Model 3s per week by the end of March and 5,000 per week by the end of the second quarter. But it acknowledged difficulty in "forecasting specific production rates at specific points in time." Delays in Model 3 deliveries have spurred frustrations among some reservation holders who have turned to alternatives like the Chevrolet Bolt.
Tesla shares were down nearly 2 percentage points in morning trading. The Street writes that "losing two people overseeing the finances of a money-losing electric car company that has a history of execution missteps, weeks removed from the end of the first quarter, is a big red flag. Buyer beware."
In addition to the latest departures, Tesla lost its president of global sales and service, Jon McNeill, in February after he left to become chief operating officer at Lyft, according to Bloomberg.