INTERNATIONAL – Tesla’s chief accounting officer gave notice he’s resigning one month into the job, citing the level of scrutiny on the electric-car maker.
Dave Morton, a former chief financial officer for computer-drive maker Seagate Technology, joined Tesla one day before his boss Elon Musk tweeted that he was considering buying out some investors at $420 a share and taking the company private.
The chief executive abandoned that effort 17 days later, and in the process drew a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission and a series of lawsuits alleging market manipulation.
“Since I joined Tesla on August 6th, the level of public attention placed on the company, as well as the pace within the company, have exceeded my expectations,” Morton said in a regulatory filing. “This caused me to reconsider my future. 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.”
Tesla shares plunged and extended their decline after Gabrielle Toledano, the company’s chief people officer, told Bloomberg News that she won’t rejoin the company after taking a leave of absence.
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The stock dropped as much as 8.5 percent to $257 before the start of regular trading. Its 5.3 percent bonds dropped 1.75 cents to 84 cents on the dollar, a record low, according to Trace bond price data. That gives the notes, which are senior unsecured and due in 2025, an effective yield of about 8.4 percent.
Tesla has long struggled with high turnover among its senior executive ranks, and its finance team in particular has gone through significant tumult lately. In the first quarter of this year, the company lost Morton’s predecessor, Eric Branderiz, and Susan Repo, who was treasurer and vice president of finance. CFO Deepak Ahuja retired in 2015, only to return in 2017 after his successor, Jason Weeler, quit after just 15 months.