Tesla's chief accounting officer leaves for 'personal reasons'

Key Points
  • Eric Branderiz joined Tesla in 2016 during its acquisition of solar energy company SolarCity. He previously worked at competitor SunPower.
  • In October, a rash of dismissals hit Tesla's SolarCity unit particularly hard.
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk introduces the "falcon wing" door on the Model X electric sports-utility vehicle during a presentation in Fremont, California, on September 29, 2015.
Stephen Lam | Reuters

Tesla Chief Accounting Officer Eric Branderiz has left the company for personal reasons, according to an SEC filing published Thursday, which Branderiz confirmed later in an e-mail to CNBC.

The departing executive wrote: "I enjoyed my time at Tesla, and I've been fortunate to work at such a great company with such an exceptional team. I've simply made a personal decision to leave and take some time off."

Branderiz joined Tesla as chief accounting officer and corporate controller in 2016 while the company was in the midst of a controversial acquisition of SolarCity for $2.6 billion.

Tesla's filing included this statement: "On March 7, 2018, Eric Branderiz left Tesla for personal reasons. Tesla appreciates Eric's service to the company."

Prior to his tenure at Tesla, Branderiz was a senior vice president and chief accounting officer at solar energy installer SunPower (now owned by French energy giant Total S.A.).

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is credited with co-founding SolarCity alongside former CEO Lyndon Rive, and CTO Peter Rive, brothers who are Musk's cousins. Musk was the largest shareholder in both companies prior to the acquisition, which was criticized by some investors as a conflict-ridden bailout.

In October 2017, sweeping dismissals at Tesla hit SolarCity employees particularly hard. Many of those who joined Tesla through the acquisition said they were never given a performance review before being fired.

Tesla has recently ceded ground to competitor SunRun in the residential solar market. Overall, it has also experienced a 57 percent decline in solar installations over the past six quarters.