The 56-year-old’s announcement during the automaker’s quarterly earnings conference call on Wednesday gave another push to the Tesla CFO revolving door that’s been spinning for years now.
Ahuja first retired from Tesla in 2015 after a seven-year stint; he’d previously worked at Ford. At the time, Ahuja helped bring on board former Google CFO Jason Wheeler as a replacement. But Wheeler, who oversaw the company’s first profitable quarter in three years, left in 2017, saying he’d found an opportunity in public policy. His LinkedIn profile says he remained a senior advisor at Tesla for six months before becoming a public speaker.
Wheeler’s exit prompted Ahuja come out of retirement, a rather unusual move. (He’d served on the board of directors of FireEye, an information security company, while away.) “This is a unique opportunity to rejoin the talented and driven team at Tesla. Every day they are working passionately to significantly improve the long-term future of humanity,” Ahuja said of his comeback.
Now Ahuja is leaving yet again. He’s departing after overseeing the company’s first two consecutive profitable quarters and nudging revenues over $7 billion for the first time. He’ll be replaced this time by Tesla’s vice president of finance Zach Kirkhorn, who has been at Tesla since 2010. Kirkhorn will take over the CFO gig after a several-month transition period.
On the Wednesday earnings call, Ahuja and CEO Elon Musk exchanged kind words, with Musk saying Ahuja will remain a senior advisor. Investors were less amenable to the news: shares dropped around 6% after Ahuja announced he was leaving.