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Who Is Former Tesla CFO Zachary Kirkhorn and What Is His Net Worth?

This transition coincides with Tesla's endeavors like the construction of a new factory in Mexico and the impending launch of its Cybertruck pickup.
Cover Image Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Cover Image Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Zachary Kirkhorn has quit as the Chief Financial Officer at Tesla after serving for four years and six months. As one of the four executive officers and a notable representative for shareholders, Kirkhorn's resignation, effective August 4, 2023, was disclosed in a regulatory filing on August 7, per Fortune. He will remain involved in an undisclosed role until the year's end to ensure a smooth transition.

Image Source: LinkedIN
Image Source: LinkedIn

What is Zachary's net worth?

As of August 8, 2023, Zachary Kirkhorn's estimated net worth stands at a minimum of $50 million. Serving as Tesla Inc's CFO, Kirkhorn holds around 197,540 shares of Tesla Inc (TSLA) stock, valued at over $50 million, as per GuruFocus. 

Tesla's CFO Shake-up

Vaibhav Taneja, currently serving as Chief Accounting Officer, has assumed the role of CFO along with his existing responsibilities, according to Tesla. Taneja, 45, held various positions within the EV company before becoming the head of accounting in 2019. He previously worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers in both India and the US.

Image Source: Chesnot/Getty Images
Image Source: Chesnot/Getty Images

Tesla's stock saw a downturn following this news during early trading. Shares of Tesla were down 1% in trading after the bell, per Reuters. The stock's value has more than doubled in the current year.

This transition coincides with Tesla's endeavors like the construction of a new factory in Mexico and the impending launch of its Cybertruck pickup as the company navigates competition in the increasingly crowded EV market. To maintain its position as a leader in the electric car industry, Tesla has implemented price reductions across its vehicle lineup.

Image Source: Xiaolu Chu/Getty Images
Image Source: Xiaolu Chu/Getty Images

The perfect candidate to be the next Tesla CEO

"Zachary Kirkhorn's extensive 13-year tenure under Elon is equivalent to a half-century with most other companies," remarked Gene Munster, Managing Partner of Deepwater Asset Management. "His commitment to stay until year-end suggests a promising transition."

However, Kirkhorn's exit, once seen as a potential successor to Musk as CEO reintroduces leadership ambiguity at Tesla. This shift simultaneously elevates Vaibhav Taneja's prominence, who was not among the 16 executives presented on stage by Musk during a March 2023 investor meeting.

Zachary's journey from Financial Analyst to CFO

Zachary Kirkhorn started with Tesla in 2010 as a senior financial analyst and climbed the ranks, becoming CFO in early 2019 at just 34. Under his leadership, Tesla shifted from losses and significant cash burn to consistent profitability. The company paid off about $10 billion in debt, securing investment-grade ratings and S&P 500 inclusion in December 2020.

Kirkhorn, a University of Pennsylvania graduate, learned from previous CFOs and impressed investors with his cost control and focus on software revenue. 

Image Source: Peter Dazeley/ Getty Images
Image Source: Peter Dazeley/ Getty Images

Zachary Kirkhorn held 197,540 shares until last month, as Bloomberg data reveals, amounting to approximately $49 million. Recently, he divested approximately $1 million worth of shares as per Fortune. 

Expressing his sentiment on LinkedIn, Kirkhorn conveyed his pride in contributing to the company's accomplishments and credited Elon Musk's leadership and optimism for their shared achievements. Kirkhorn's demeanor on earnings calls stood in contrast to Musk's well-known fervor, embodying a composed and unwavering presence.

Tesla is still in good hands

Cathie Wood, the CEO and Chief Investment Officer of Ark Investment Management, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television that while Kirkhorn's absence will be felt, she believes Vaibhav Taneja is well-equipped to assume the CFO role.