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Tesla’s accounting and HR heads resign on the same day

Tesla’s accounting and HR heads resign on the same day


The chief accounting officer had been with the company less than a month

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Tesla’s chief accounting officer, Dave Morton, has resigned after less than a month on the job, the company announced in a regulatory filing today. Morton said in a statement that “the level of public attention placed on the company, as well as the pace within the company, have exceeded my expectations.”

Shortly after the announcement of Morton’s departure, Gabrielle Toledano, Tesla’s head of HR, told Bloomberg she has decided not to come back to the company after being on a leave of absence. She’s the second Tesla executive to not return from a leave of absence this summer. Doug Field, who ran the company’s vehicle programs, stepped down in July after having gone on leave in May.

The news of both departures came hours after CEO Elon Musk smoked weed on Joe Rogan’s podcast. Tesla’s stock price dropped as much as 10 percent Friday morning, the biggest hit to the company’s market capitalization in two years.

Morton joined Tesla one day before the “funding secured” tweet

Morton came from a post as CFO of hard drive company Seagate and was in charge of Tesla’s corporate financial reporting and global accounting, payroll, tax, and trade activities, according to a company press release about his hiring. He says his first day was on August 6th, which was one day before Musk tweeted that he had “funding secured” to be able to take Tesla private — an effort he eventually abandoned a few weeks later. Toledano had been with Tesla since May 2017.

Executive departures are not a new thing for Tesla — Bloomberg reported at the end of August that the company’s head of communications is also on the way out — but Morton’s resignation comes at a particularly precarious financial time for the company. Tesla still hasn’t turned a yearly profit since its founding, and in the last two years, the company has steadily eaten through its cash reserves as it ramped up production of the Model 3 sedan. A number of leading financial firms expect the company will need to raise more money over the next few months in order to keep up with this pace of spending, even if the company is able to turn a profit in the final two quarters of 2018, which Musk said was the goal at the beginning of August.

Tesla is also about to take on a number of projects that will require even more money, like breaking ground on a factory in China, another planned factory in Europe, the Model Y crossover SUV, the second-generation Roadster, and an all-electric big rig truck.