Tesla shares plunged as much as 10 percent Friday morning following two high-profile executive departures.
Tesla shares have since recovered and were down 5.4 percent to $265.77 a share at 8:20 am PT.
The executive departures were just the latest tumult at the automaker headed by CEO Elon Musk. Just hours before, Musk capped off a long-winded interview live-streamed on YouTube with Joe Rogan by smoking what was described as a mix of tobacco and marijuana. The interview covered everything from cars and Tesla to space, AI, alcohol, flamethrowers, horses and digging tunnels.
Dave Morton, the company’s chief accounting officer, resigned from Tesla on Tuesday a month after taking the job, according to an SEC regulatory filing Friday. News of his departure was quickly followed by another. This time it was Gaby Toledano, who joined Tesla in May 2017 after 10 years on the executive team at video game publisher Electronic Arts.
“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 the regulator filing. “As a result, 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.”
Morton’s one month on the job has been particularly chaotic. Morton, former CFO at computer-drive maker Seagate Technology, came on board one day before Tesla CEO Elon Musk sent out a tweet that he was considering taking the company private in a buyout at $420 a share. That tweet triggered a series of events that caused chaos at the company, including several lawsuits filed by shareholders and a subpoena from the SEC.
The proposal to go private was scrapped less than three weeks later.
Morton is giving up an annual base salary of $350,000 and, more importantly, a $10 million new-hire equity grant that would have vested after four years.
Tesla’s accounting functions and personnel will continue to be overseen by both Tesla’s chief financial officer and its corporate controller, according to the filing.