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Tesla shares sink after key executives exit

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"Tesla shares have fallen sharply after two senior executives abruptly left the electric car firm headed by Elon Musk.

The chief accounting officer has left less than a month after joining, while its HR officer is also reported to have resigned a year after joining.

The resignations came just hours after the firm's controversial chief executive Mr Musk smoked marijuana live on the web during a podcast with comedian Joe Rogan.

Shares fell over 10% in early US trade.

Accounting officer Dave Morton's resignation was announced in an official filing with US regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Meanwhile, its chief people officer Gaby Toledano had decided not to return to the firm after a period of absence, according to newswire Bloomberg.

Mr Morton, who joined Tesla on 6 August, resigned on 4 September.

He said his decision to quite was due to the higher-than-expected "level of public attention placed on the company, as well as the pace within the company."

"I want to be clear that I believe strongly in Tesla, its mission, and its future prospects, and I have no disagreements with Tesla's leadership or its financial reporting," he added.

'Attract drama'

The fallout comes as the firm is under renewed scrutiny due to the erratic behaviour of Mr Musk.

In July he shocked investors by announcing on Twitter that he had funding secured to take his car firm Tesla private. He later said the firm would stay public.

He also tweeted that he might suffer from bipolar disorder but then said "maybe not medically".

In August he told the New York Times that he worked "120-hour weeks" and took sedatives.

His brother Kimbal Musk told the newspaper that the reason Mr Musk "seems to attract drama" is because he is "so transparent, so open, in a way that can come back to bite him".

Since Mr Musk announced his plan to delist Tesla, its share price has dropped by 20%.

Some analysts have urged the firm to appoint another senior leader.

James Albertine, an analyst at Consumer Edge, said it had previously called for a co-chief executive or chief operating officer to help balance the leadership structure.

"We think this is further evidence that the time is now for management and the board to address these issues," he added."

Source – BBC News

About the author

Philip Scott

Head of Equities, Director

Philip has worked as a Private Client Stockbroker for nearly 20 years, commencing his career in Operations with Rensburg Sheppards (now part of Investec plc) before spending 9 years with Killik & Co advising on and directly managing portfolios. He joined SI Capital in 2006 to head up the Private Client Advisory desk.

Philip is a regular contributor to local media commenting on stock market dynamics and is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (MCSI). His RDR qualification gained special recognitionfrom the CISI for achieving the highest combined pass mark in the country for the Investment Advice Diploma in 2012.

“At SI Capital I enjoy being part of a talented team who collectively share the same desire to provide excellence in service.  My focus is to ensure that each client receives effective and optimal management of their assets.”

Philip lives locally, is married with 2 daughters and is an avid sports fan (if now predominantly from the sidelines).  His other interests include music and film.

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