Tesla’s first CFO, Deepak Ahuja, who retired in 2015 after serving for seven years, is now making a comeback, according to Fortune. Current CFO Jason Wheeler, who joined the EV firm in 2015, is set to quit the company in April for a job in public policy, the automaker announced on Wednesday.
Ahuja to rejoin as Tesla CFO
Tesla’s former CFO is coming out of retirement at a time when the company is gearing up for the launch of its mass-market Model 3. Ahuja will formally resume his role as the CFO in early March, and Wheeler will remain with Tesla until then, the automaker said in a blog post announcing its fourth quarter earnings report.
On Wednesday during Tesla’s earnings call, Wheeler said, “I’m looking to scratch an itch I’ve had for many many years now.”
Gates Capital Management's Excess Cash Flow (ECF) Value Funds have returned 14.5% net over the past 25 years, and in 2021, the fund manager continued to outperform. Due to an "absence of large mistakes" during the year, coupled with an "attractive environment for corporate events," the group's flagship ECF Value Fund, L.P returned 32.7% last Read More
He added that if he didn’t have a good plan in place for the company, he wouldn’t have felt comfortable about leaving Tesla. Before joining the EV firm, Wheeler served Google as vice president of finance for 13 years.
During his short stint at Tesla, Wheeler helped lead the acquisition of residential solar panel company SolarCity and prepared for the launch of the Model 3. His role in leading the company to a profitable quarter last year was pivotal, notes Fortune. It was only the second one in the company’s history.
Ahuja — one of Tesla’s longest-serving executives — had steered the company in rougher financial times and was with it when it held its initial public offering in 2010.
Model 3 on track for volume production
The mass-market Model 3 is on track for volume production by September, the automaker also said on Wednesday. This served as an encouragement to investors who believe that electric vehicles will make the company profitable. Tesla saw its shares rise by as much as 3% after the bell.
Unfortunately, Tesla’s operations continued to burn through cash.
During the conference call, CEO Elon Musk said, “According to our financial plan, no capital needs to be raised for the Model 3 but we get very close to the edge.”
The EV firm has $3.4 billion cash on hand and is planning for capital expenses of $2 billion to $2.5 billion before the launch of the Model 3, notes Reuters.
“We’re considering a number of options but I think it probably makes sense to raise capital to reduce risk.”
On Wednesday, Tesla shares closed down 1.4% at $273.51. Year to date, the stock is up almost 28%, while in the last year, it is up more than 64%.