Tesla’s new accounting chief has SolarCity roots

The automaker also appointed Vaibhav Taneja, who led the integration of Tesla and SolarCity’s accounting teams, as its chief accounting officer.

Tesla has turned to two insiders to manage and oversee the company’s finances.

The automaker officially tapped as its next chief financial officer Zachary Kirkhorn, a longtime employee who has been part of the automaker’s finance team for nine years, according to securities filings posted Thursday. The automaker also appointed Vaibhav Taneja, who led the integration of Tesla and SolarCity’s accounting teams, as its chief accounting officer. Taneja, who will report to Kirkhorn, will oversee corporate financial reporting, global accounting functions and personnel.

Taneja replaces Dave Morton, who resigned from Tesla in August a month after taking the job.

Kirkhorn’s new role was mentioned during the company’s earnings call in January when CEO Elon Musk announced that CFO Deepak Ahuja would be retiring. Ahuja was Tesla’s CFO from 2008 to 2015, and was replaced by Jason Wheeler. Ahuja returned in 2017 after Wheeler stepped down.

“There is no good time to make this change,” Ahuja said at the time. He noted that after two back-to-back profitable quarters, now might be the best time. Musk said Ahuja would likely stay on as a senior advisor “for probably years to come.”

Kirkhorn first joined Tesla in March 2010, moving up through various roles in the company’s finance department. He left between 2011 and 2012 to earn an MBA degree from Harvard Business School . His most recent role was as VP of Finance.

Kirkhorn will receive a stock option grant of $12 million and a restricted stock unit grant of $4 million, which will be granted and will vest over four years in accordance with Tesla’s standard equity policies, according to the securities filing posted Thursday.

Taneja was most recently Tesla’s corporate controller. His employment with the automaker began through SolarCity, the solar company that Tesla acquired in 2016. Taneja was vice president of SolarCity’s accounting department until February 2017. He then served as Tesla’s assistant corporate controller between February 2017 and May 2018 before taking the lead position.

Taneja will receive a stock option grant of $6 million and a restricted stock unit grant of $2 million, which will be granted and will vest over four years.

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Elon Musk: SEC Chaos Might Allow Tesla CEO to Work on Less ‘Boring Projects

There was some great news on Wednesday for The Boring Company though, and evidently, Musk wasn’t going to miss the chance to get his fingers …

If Elon Musk was busy last week, he’s swamped this week. The workaholic Tesla boss has his hands full at the best of times overseeing one of the world’s most valuable car companies (Tesla), a ground-breaking private space exploration enterprise (Space X) and his lesser-known but equally interesting public-transit company (The Boring Company). Telsa has been occupying a lot of media coverage lately, with safety concerns and company layoffs. On Monday his schedule got even more hectic as he was forced to file a response to a worrying SEC complaint which wants to hold him in contempt of Federal Court.

The SEC want to stop him tweeting, and Elon said (roughly speaking) “you can take my titles, but you’ll never take my tweets” citing his first amendment rights. Many political commentators thought this was absolutely the wrong way to go. There was some great news on Wednesday for The Boring Company though, and evidently, Musk wasn’t going to miss the chance to get his fingers tapping,

Looking forward to building a Boring Company tunnel in Vegas. Assuming to be operational by end of year! https://t.co/cSSO4SJ140

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 12, 2019

What Next For Musk When the SEC Dust Settles?

So what happens next? Well if he’s found guilty, he could potentially be banned from tweeting, face a huge fine and/or lose the Tesla CEO position. He has already given up as Chairman, but Chief Executive Office could be a more significant blow to the company. At this point does Musk even care? I would argue possibly not.

Space X Can Help us Reach Another World, But the Boring Company Can Improve This One

Elon Musk is an innovator and a problem solver first and a businessman second. What he excels at is creating groundbreaking products and marketing them in a way that generates an almost religious following. Tesla launched an electric car when no one could make one that looked and performed better than a cereal box. He changed the plug-in vehicle game forever. But now what? Its already worth more than GM and electric cars are becoming the norm rather than the exception, as is development in self-driving technology. Teslas use rubber tires and environmentally expensive battery manufacturing processes.Most of their charging stations use dirty power grids like everyone else.

Even the most ardent supporters have to admit that they are still an environmental negative when charging their Model S, 3 or X. Don’t even think about what we are going to have to do to dispose of the batteries when they are spent in 20 years. You can’t just melt them down like a regular car. Add in the fumes and fuel from Space X-ploration and Musk isn’t looking like the tree-hugger he was accused of being at the beginning of all of this. Enter the Boring Company.

Musk Is First of All a Visionary

Elon Musk loves to be on the cutting edge of innovation and Tesla is the mainstream now. It’s Beverly Hill’s Prius (a little joke for the Los Angelenos there). His biggest goal is he wants to get to Mars, but for sure he wants to keep making a difference on earth too. As a resident of the West-Side of Los Angeles, Musk knows what pain traffic causes in urban areas as much as anyone. Well, the Boring Company seeks to solve these problems by creating a more efficient, speedier and safer public transportation system. In LA everything is so built up over the ground, underground provides a unique opportunity.

This is where Elon can be an environmentalist. He knows that changing car motors to electric doesn’t get the life-shortening particulates out of our cities and that Lithium is a nightmare to procure. The real answer to urban pollution is to get cars off the roads or at least reduce their road time.

tesla stock price, citron researchtesla stock price, citron research

Tesla’s path is clearly plotted, what left is there for Musk to do?| Source: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images / AFP

More Attention Will Improve Boring’s prospects

His incredibly hectic schedule has at times made it seem like The Boring Company was an afterthought, and some struggles with Californian bureaucrats may have dented his enthusiasm. Musk is no stranger to legal obstacles after launching Telsa’s direct to consumer business model, and it is great to see the City of Las Vegas apparently on board with what Boring are trying to do. The proposed loop for the tunnel would help ease congestion and provide transport from the Las Vegas International airport. All for a staggeringly low cost of $35 to $55 million! California can barely build a public toilet for less than $100 million.

Tesla is Fully Evolved, It’s Time to Let Go

Losing the Tesla CEO position might be exactly the jolt Musk needs. Of all his companies, Boring Company needs him the most. A safe pair of hands could push Tesla along at this point. All you need is to avoid scandals and keep coming up with fun updates for the cars. Much like Tim Cook is doing at Apple without Steve Jobs. Musk has laid out enough of a vision for the future of the company with all the planned models that there isn’t much “envisioning” left to do. Boring Company needs a push at this stage; however, as with Urban centers around the world increasingly getting busier, infrastructure is groaning.

Lack of Urban Infrastructure a Major Obstacle to Global Growth

The US Government have so far failed to address this issue meaningfully. With all the talk of the wall and raising taxes and Russia, everyone has forgotten that both sides want to spend money on the US’s crumbling infrastructure. Bi-partisan concessions or agreement seem to be toxic in Washington at the moment, which is a shame as it means this vital project is, once again, left to gather dust on the steps.

Boring by Name, Not By Nature

Look at how the Boring Company came to be created in this quote from Musk on Joe Rogan’s show,

“I have this, it’s sort of a hobby company, called The Boring Company, which started out as a joke, And we decided to make it real and dig a tunnel under LA. And then other people asked us to build tunnels, so we said yes in a few cases.”

Well, what started as a joke might turn out to be pivotal in making the 15-mile, 2-hour commute a thing of the past. It could be Musk’s enduring legacy if he doesn’t get people to Mars.

While I’m thinking about it, someone @ Elon musk or The Boring Company and ask him/them to take over California’s high-speed rail project. Billions could be saved as they wouldn’t need to worry about buying so much land. It could also be more direct as it wouldn’t affect any protected areas. Get digging guys.

Elon Musk went to great lengths to silence a Tesla whistleblower: report

Titled “When Elon Musk Tried to Destroy a Tesla Whistleblower,” Matt Robinson and Zeke Faux report on disconcerting allegations in which Musk …

After a series of public mishaps, including an incident in which he baselessly called a rescue diver a “pedophile,” entrepreneur and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been out of the public eye. Now, a new Bloomberg report reveals that, far from learning from his public mistakes, Musk has been working behind the scenes to silence a whistleblower at one of his Tesla factories.

Titled “When Elon Musk Tried to Destroy a Tesla Whistleblower,” Matt Robinson and Zeke Faux report on disconcerting allegations in which Musk allegedly “stewed for weeks, dispatching a team of investigators to try to figure out who’d [leaked] information.” The leak in question referred to a report from Business Insider on June 4, 2018 claiming that Tesla Inc. was reworking 40 percent of the raw materials at its large factory in the Nevada desert. Tesla denied the report at the time, though it seems to have internally infuriated Musk.


According to the Bloomberg report, Musk and his team of investigators determined employee Martin Tripp had leaked the information. This led the company to sue Tripp for $167 million. In addition to the lawsuit, Tripp received a visit from the Storey County, Nevada, sheriff’s department, who told him that an anonymous caller had called the police to say he was planning a mass shooting at the factory.

Bloomberg explains:

When the police confronted Tripp that evening, he was unarmed and in tears. He said he was terrified of Musk and suggested the billionaire might have called in the tip himself. A sheriff’s deputy attempted to cheer up Tripp and then called Tesla to tell the company that the threat, whoever had made it, was bogus. Tripp wasn’t dangerous.

While the Tripp incident was occurring, Musk was appointed a “Twitter sitter” by the Securities and Exchange Commission to vet his tweets after a series of questionable public statements that had both corporate and personal repercussions. These included the aforementioned incident in which he accused a British cave diver of pedophilia; tweeting he was considering taking Tesla private at $420, an allusion to marijuana; engaging in a Twitter altercation with musician Azealia Banks; and smoking a joint during a live podcast of the Joe Rogan Show.

Previously, a different company whistleblower had raised the SEC’s alarms: Sean Gouthro, a security chief at Tesla, filed a whistleblower report with the SEC regarding the incident with Tripp, as well as raising his own concerns about Musk lying publicly about taking Tesla public. A Tesla spokesperson has said that Gouthro’s allegations were “untrue and sensationalized,” according to Bloomberg.

Regarding Tripp, the Bloomberg report further details the Tesla investigation into his leak. According to the report: “Tesla also printed out a BOLO flyer—short for ‘be on the lookout’—with Tripp’s smiling face on it and the words ‘do not allow on property.’” This came after a six-hour long interview about his leak, and a heated email exchange between Tripp and Musk.

Bloomberg details:


‘“You have what’s coming to you for the lies you have told to the public and investors,” [Tripp] wrote.

His former boss, of course, engaged him with gusto. “Threatening me only makes it worse for you,” Musk replied. Later, he wrote: “You should be ashamed of yourself for framing other people. You’re a horrible human being.”

“I NEVER ‘framed’ anyone else or even insinuated anyone else as being involved in my production of documents of your MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF WASTE, Safety concerns, lying to investors/the WORLD,” Tripp responded.

As of Wednesday evening, Musk had yet to respond or comment about the Bloomberg report on Twitter.

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Elon Musk fires back at the SEC

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is fighting back against the SEC. On Monday, Musk filed a response to the SEC’s request that he be held in contempt for …

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is fighting back against the SEC. On Monday, Musk filed a response to the SEC’s request that he be held in contempt for violating a settlement agreement. Todd Cipperman, Cipperman Compliance Services Principal, joins The Final Round to discuss

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Sex, Drugs, and Electric Cars: Report Claims Elon Musk Tried to ‘Destroy’ Whistleblower, Spied on …

A recent report from Bloomberg frames Tesla CEO Elon Musk as quite the jerk in relation to his actions toward a former employee. This worker is the …

A recent report from Bloomberg frames Tesla CEO Elon Musk as quite the jerk in relation to his actions toward a former employee. This worker is the whistleblower who, last year, shared internal documents that suggested the company’s Nevada Gigafactory was blowing through raw materials at an alarming rate. Martin Tripp offered up information showing Tesla wasted $150 million in materials and accused the automaker of pursuing unsafe production procedures during its push to increase Model 3 volume.

Tripp, who tried briefly to maintain his anonymity, said he was concerned that Tesla was shipping cars that were potentially dangerous to consumers. However, Tesla quickly responded by suggesting the claims against it were ridiculous and the amount of waste cited in the report was an overstatement.

“As is expected with any new manufacturing process, we had high scrap rates earlier in the Model 3 ramp. This is something we planned for and is a normal part of a production ramp,” Tesla told Business Insider in 2018.

Following an intense Twitter rant from Elon Musk, the story died down. But the corporate task force charged with finding out who leaked the information would eventually lead to even more ridiculous claims.

Sean Gouthro, former security manager at the Gigafactory, ended up filing his own report with the Securities and Exchange Commission in January alleging that Tesla investigators hacked Tripp’s phone, followed him around, and misled police about the surveillance data that had been acquired. Odd, considering Tripp’s true identity was uncovered almost immediately — as he was the only person with access to the manufacturing details relevant to the story. Tesla ended up firing him on June 19th of 2018, with Musk releasing an email claiming an employee had tried to “sabotage to our operations” as part of a broader conspiracy involving short sellers and oil companies.

This was followed by Tripp’s personal details being published all over the internet. Shaken, Tripp sent an email to Musk saying “you have what’s coming to you for the lies you have told to the public and investors.” The CEO responded by calling him a “horrible human being” and suggested threats would only leave Tripp in a worse position. Later that day, the company claimed it received a warning of an imminent mass shooting and identified Tripp as a disgruntled ex-employee, though the event never took place.

Gouthro’s account to Bloomberg casts a shadow upon the shooting threat and the company’s handling of Tripp overall. Tripp was interrogated by Tesla’s investigators, who Musk reportedly hired personally (despite allegations that they took part in spying on rivals while working for Uber). While Tripp admitted to informing the press, he denied Musk’s accusation that he had accepted bribes from the media. He eventually moved out of the country to avoid any further interaction with the company.

While Gouthro’s recollection of the incident frames Tesla as a vicious actor that attempted to take Tripp down by publicly defaming him, it wasn’t all he learned through the investigation. Corporate investigators allegedly installed devices that “monitored everyone’s private communications” within the factory. Gouthro also claimed he was informed by a corporate lawyer that Tesla had spied on at least one union meeting under Musk’s direct orders and cited a lot of day-to-day weirdness inside the factory.

From Bloomberg:

Not long after Gouthro started in January 2018, he discovered that many employees, some of whom were living out of their car in the corners of the industrial park, were using cocaine and meth in the bathrooms. Others were having sex in parts of the factory that were still under construction.

Gouthro says the scanners guards used to check badges were unreliable, so they’d wave in anyone with a piece of paper that looked legitimate. Local scrap yards called him to report thieves were trying to sell obscure electric vehicle parts.

While we would imagine there’s a fair bit of this going on at other auto factories across the globe, it’s not a pretty picture. On Monday, Tesla said Gouthro’s allegations are “untrue and sensationalized,” and that he was fired due to “poor performance, including repeated failure to demonstrate and understand best practices in the security industry.”

[Image: Tesla Motors]


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