Turmoil at Tesla as executives leave and shares tumble

Kelley Robertson
September 8, 2018

Shares of Tesla fell more than 6 per cent to reach a five-month low on Friday morning following the departure of the company's chief accounting officer, Dave Morton, who resigned less than a month into the job on Friday.

"Am considering taking Tesla private at $420".

The Palo Alto, California-based company said its chief financial officer and its corporate controller will oversee accounting functions. That said, his experience was probably not a good fit for the electric vehicle maker's startup culture, which is characterized by its flat organizational structure and its fast pace.

One of Wall Street's prominent short sellers, Andrew Left, has filed a class-action lawsuit, accusing electric auto maker Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk of trying to "burn" investors with "objectively false tweets".

Morton, who is walking away from a $350,000 base salary and a $10 million new-hire stock grant that would vest over four years, said he believed "strongly" in Tesla and that he had no disagreements with the company's leadership or its financial reporting.

Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has smoked marijuana live on the web during a podcast with comedian Joe Rogan. During the 2.5-hr podcast, the two men talked about several topics, from AI to time management to vertical liftoff airplanes and Japanese feudal weapons. Musk appeared on "The Joe Rogan Experience" overnight.

Musk suggested in an interview with The New York Times last month that he was no fan of marijuana, arguing that it kills productivity.

His controversial plans regarding Tesla's ownership were dropped about two weeks later.

Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk was filmed smoking marijuana and wielding a sword on a webcast, just hours before the automaker said its recently-appointed accounting chief would leave, the latest in a string of unusual behavior and executive departures that have stunned investors.

"We have been calling for a co-CEO or COO to assist to codifying the leadership structure and in so doing, the culture at Tesla", said James Albertine, analyst at brokerage Consumer Edge, speaking before the promotions were announced. Later in the interview, Rogan, a former UFC commentator, offered Tesla's CEO a smoke. The report, which was published by electric car-themed news site InsideEVs, estimated that the Tesla Model 3, Model S, and Model X, were the Top 3 electric cars in the U.S. in August.

He was also drinking whisky at the time, Yahoo Finance reported.

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