- Departing Tesla CFO Zachary Kirkhorn is walking away from the electronic vehicle company with a net worth of $590 million, according to data consolidated by Bloomberg.
- The figure includes Tesla shares and options Kirkhorn received as compensation during his four-year tenure as finance chief for the Austin, Texas-based company, Bloomberg said.
- Kirkhorn — dubbed the company’s “Master of Coin” in 2021, the same year Tesla CEO Elon Musk was also granted the title of “Technoking,” according to a company filing — served a 13-year tenure at Tesla including his four years in its top financial seat before departing from that role Aug. 4. The company’s chief accounting officer, Vaibhav Taneja, was appointed to the CFO seat in his stead.
Much of Kirkhorn’s pay as finance chief was in shares and options, according to company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Kirkhorn’s Tesla stock options have a value of approximately $550 million, according to Bloomberg, comprising the majority of the departing CFOs’ net worth.
For 2022, Kirkhorn’s total compensation reached $303,000, comprised of his $300,000 base salary and $3,000 in contributions to his 401k — representing a minor bump from the $301,154 in total compensation he received in 2021, according to the company’s most recent proxy statement. Kirkhorn also earned $16.3 million in stock awards for fiscal 2022 on top of his other compensation, per the proxy.
In 2020 — while Kirkhorn’s base salary was temporarily reduced to $269,663 “in response to global market conditions” — he received a large batch of award options that year, which, together with $31,099 in other compensation, brought his total compensation in 2020 to $46.5 million, according to the proxy.The $31,099 represented previously accrued time off which was applied to the purchase of a Tesla as part of a company-wide program, Tesla said.
While below the compensation granted to CEO and Technoking Musk, aspects of Kirkhorn’s pay appear to fall in line with that of other Tesla executives. The company’s SVP, Powertrain and Energy Engineering Andrew Baglino received an identical number of award options in 2020, for example, with Baglino’s total compensation for that year falling just below Kirkhorn’s. Baglino also received the same $300,000 base salary as Kirkhorn for 2022, according to the proxy statement.
Kirkhorn’s departure comes as the EV manufacturer is attempting to fend off a growing number of challengers in the industry. European automaker Stellantis NV — the parent company of Fiat — recently unveiled plans to add a second, lower-priced EV to its fleet of vehicles, with the company previously announcing plans to bring its top-selling Fiat EV to the U.S. to compete with brands like Tesla, according to a report by The Street.
Tesla’s long-awaited CyberTruck product, meanwhile, has been marred by delays and ballooning costs, with the truck finally set to debut two years behind schedule later this year, The Wall Street Journal reported.
While it remains the leader of the EV pack, delivering 466,140 vehicles for its most recent quarter ending June 30, this influx of competitors could be poised to topple its crown, with Bank of America analysts predicting in June that Tesla’s share of the EV market could drop to as little as 18% by 2026 compared to the 62% share the company had in 2022, according to a CNBC report.
Among its other woes, the company is also facing a class action lawsuit in California, which follows a report it falsified range estimates using a rigged algorithm which purported that Tesla drivers could drive longer distances than they could actually drive before their batteries ran out, CFO Dive previously reported.
Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment.