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Tesla loses another senior executive amid Model 3 struggle

Dana Hull | Bloomberg/ 14 Mar 18 | 11:03 PM

Tesla Inc. has lost two of its most senior financial executives in short succession before the electric-car maker gives an update on the Model 3 sedan that it’s struggled to mass produce.

Susan Repo, Tesla’s corporate treasurer and vice president of finance, left to become the chief financial officer of another company, a spokesman said in an email. Last week, Tesla disclosed Chief Accounting Officer Eric Branderiz parted ways for personal reasons.

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News of the departures have surfaced just weeks before Tesla reports production figures that will be closely watched for whether the company hit a target to make 2,500 Model 3 sedans a week by the end of this month. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk has delayed manufacturing goals several times for the car that Tesla has spent billions on to reach more mass market consumers. A base version will eventually sell for $35,000 before incentives.

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

Tesla shares dropped as much as 3.1 percent and traded down 2.3 percent to $333.86 as of 12:23 p.m. The stock has risen about 7 percent this year.

“We’d like to thank Susan for her five year contribution to Tesla and congratulate her on becoming a CFO," the company said in an emailed statement. The carmaker promoted Ron Klein to treasurer. He was previously assistant treasurer, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Prominent Departures

In addition to losing 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.

After Tesla announced that former CFO Jason Wheeler would leave in April of last year, Bloomberg News reported on a list of more than two dozen executives who had parted ways with the company during the previous 12 months.

Since then, other prominent management departures have included Lyndon and Peter Rive, Musk’s cousins who had joined him in co-founding SolarCity Corp.; Chris Lattner, an Apple Inc. hire who left after leading Tesla’s Autopilot engineering team for less than six months; Kurt Kelty, a longtime battery executive; and Diarmuid O’Connell, vice president of business development.

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