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Not a good day.
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Tesla’s stock plunges after resignations of HR and accounting executives on same day

By Michael J. Coren

Working at Tesla is not for everyone. Increasingly, it’s not for Tesla’s own executives.

On Friday (Sept. 7), the company’s heads of accounting and human resources announced their resignation after brief tenures at the electric carmaker.

Tesla’s latest chief accounting officer, Dave Morton, left after only a month because of “the level of public attention placed on the company, as well as the pace within the company, have exceeded my expectations,” according to a filing today. Although Morton reiterated his belief in Tesla, the former chief financial officer of Seagate Technology said this has caused him to “reconsider his future.” Tesla had announced his arrival on July 30. Tesla’s chief human resources officer, Gaby Toledano, also announced she would not return from a leave of absence in August after just 15 months at the company, according to Bloomberg.

The stock tumbled 13% off the previous day’s close of $290, before rebounding slightly. It’s been a rough month for Tesla’s stock. A summer of uncertainty has sent the stock price gyrating after CEO Elon Musk announced a planned to take the company private at a price of $420 per share. That plan fell apart, and the stock has been sliding from its August peak of $390 ever since.

Musk also appeared on TV host Joe Rogan’s podcast late on Sept. 6 after months of public meltdowns, including calling quarterly earnings calls “boring,” harassing journalists on Twitter, and calling one of the Thai cave rescuers a “pedo” (and doubling down on that claim). The Tesla CEO held court on topics from artificial intelligence to leading Tesla (“his hardest job”) and wielded a flamethrower and Samurai sword during the during the 2.5 hour podcast, which was also broadcast on YouTube.

The Tesla CEO also lit up a blunt (marijuana in a cigar wrapper), which is legal in California, despite noting he’s “not a regular smoker of weed.” Musk later said, “I’m getting text messages from friends saying, ‘What the hell are you doing smoking weed?'” he said.

An abbreviated list of departures since 2016 include more than a dozen top executives who have left for competitors or greener pastures:

  • March 2017: Tesla’s director of hardware engineering, Satish Jeyachandran, left for Alphabet’s self-driving car unit, Waymo
  • March 2017: Vice president of human resources Mark Lipscomb leaves for Netflix
  • April 2017: Chief financial officer Jason Wheeler departs after 18 months and is replaced by Tesla’s former finance head Deepak Ahuja
  • May 2017: Vice president of human resources Arnnon Geshuri, leaves after nearly eight years at the company (paywall)
  • June 2017: Former Apple engineer Chris Lattner, leaves after serving as top of Tesla’s Autopilot engineering team for less than six months
  • Sept. 2017: Vice president of business development Diarmuid O’Connell departs (paywall)
  • Aug. 2017: Tesla loses its senior director of battery technology, Kurt Kelty, to the startup Plenty
  • Feb. 2018: Jon McNeill, the former global president of sales and service leaves for Lyft
  • March 2018 : Top financial executives Eric Branderiz (chief accounting officer) and Susan Repo (vice president of finance) depart
  • April 2018: Autopilot chief Jim Keller leaves to return to semiconductor engineering