Tesla loses another senior executive amid Model 3 woes

Dana Hull
Bloomberg News

Tesla Inc. has lost two of its most senior financial executives in short succession within weeks of when the electric-car maker will report production figures for the Model 3 sedan that it’s struggled to mass manufacture.

Susan Repo, Tesla’s corporate treasurer and vice president of finance, left to become the chief financial officer of another company, according to a person familiar with the matter. Last week, Tesla disclosed Chief Accounting Officer Eric Branderiz parted ways for personal reasons.

Tesla is expected to report production and deliveries results early next month that will be closely watched for whether the company reached a target to produce 2,500 Model 3 sedans a week by the end of the first quarter. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has pushed back manufacturing goals several times for the car Tesla has spent billions on to reach more mass market consumers – a base version will eventually sell for $35,000.

“Elon Musk has to be careful to stabilize his company” amid reports of quality issues with the Model 3, its recent production halt and the spate of management changes, Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, the director of the University of Duisburg-Essen’s Center for Automotive Research, said by phone. “That doesn’t look very comfortable.”

Tesla shares slipped 0.4 percent to $340.58 as of 7:16 a.m., before the start of regular trading. The stock has jumped 9.8 percent this year.

Repo, who joined Tesla in 2013, according to her LinkedIn profile, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. The person who confirmed her departure wasn’t authorized to speak publicly and asked not to be named.

In addition to the loss of Repo and Branderiz, Jon McNeill, Tesla’s president of global sales and service, left to become the chief operating officer of Lyft Inc. in February. Musk said at the time that McNeill’s department would report directly to him and that there were no plans to search for a replacement.