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Tesla CFO steps down, insider named as successor

STORY: Tesla announced that its Chief Financial Officer, Zachary Kirkhorn – once thought to be a possible successor to CEO Elon Musk – is leaving the company.

The electric vehicle maker did not specify a reason, but in a LinkedIn post on Monday, Kirkhorn wrote,

“This morning Tesla announced that I’ve stepped down from my role as Chief Financial Officer, succeeded by our Chief Accounting Officer, Vaibhav Taneja. Being a part of this company is a special experience and I’m extremely proud of the work we’ve done together since I joined over 13 years ago. ”

He also thanked Musk for his “leadership and optimism.”

Kirkhorn did not immediately respond to queries when contacted on LinkedIn.

During his tenure, Tesla posted its first quarterly profit after it launched the mass-market Model 3 compact sedan and hit a market valuation of more than $1 trillion.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that Kirkhorn was being considered as a candidate to replace Musk amid growing investor concern about the lack of a clear succession plan.

He will remain with the company through the end of the year to help with a smooth transition.

Replacing Kirkhorn in the CFO role – dubbed “Master of Coin” by the company – is Vaibhav Taneja, who will also retain his current job as chief accounting officer.

Tesla this year has cut prices on its vehicles in an effort to prioritize sales growth and market share, squeezing its industry-leading margins.

It’s hinted at more price cuts to come in what Musk called “turbulent times” as rising borrowing costs take a toll on the sales of electric-vehicle makers.

Tesla shares fell as much as 4 percent in Monday morning trading.