Tesla keeps losing senior leadership — here are some of the key departures this year

Key Points
  • In total 41 executives have left Tesla in 2018, according to a list compiled by short-seller Jim Chanos — 58 in the last 12 months.
  • The company laid off at least 9 percent of its workforce in June — the same month 13 executives left the company.
  • On Friday, Chief Accounting Officer Dave Morton resigned, citing intense public attention on the company.
Joshua Lott | Getty Images

Shares of Tesla tanked as much as 10 percent Friday after CEO Elon Musk smoked marijuana on video and two C-suite executives left the company.

Chief Accounting Officer Dave Morton resigned after about a month on the job, while Chief People Officer Gaby Toledano said she would not return after an extended leave.

Morton and Toledano are just the latest top Tesla employees to depart amid a tumultuous year for the automaker. Tesla has battled through production delays, swinging stock prices and the wild antics of its CEO.

In total 41 executives have left Tesla in 2018, according to a tracker maintained by Tesla short-seller Jim Chanos, including 58 in the last 12 months. The company laid off at least 9 percent of its workforce in June — the same month 13 executives left the company, according to Chanos' list.

On Friday, the company announced it was promoting several new executives, some of whom fill the shoes of people who left this year.

Here are some of the key departures this year:

Jon McNeill, president of global sales and service, left in February after 2 years. McNeill moved to ride-hailing company Lyft where he's served as chief operating officer since February.

Eric Branderiz, chief accounting officer, left in March after a year and a half, citing only "personal reasons." He is now the chief financial officer at Enphase Energy, a solar energy firm, according to his LinkedIn profile.

On Friday, Tesla revealed that Branderiz' replacement as chief accounting officer, Dave Morton, had resigned as of Tuesday, citing intense public attention. He had been at the company for only one month.

"Since I joined Tesla on August 6, the level of public attention placed on the company, as well as the pace within the company, have exceeded my expectations," Morton said in a statement. "As a result, this caused me to reconsider my future." CNBC reported Morton left after feeling that Musk ignored his advice about taking the company private.

Also in March, Susan Repo stepped down as treasurer and vice president of finance to join enterprise software company Topia as chief financial officer. Repo had been at Tesla for 5 years.

Jim Keller, vice president of autopilot, left Tesla in April after 2 years to join Intel. He leads Intel's silicon engineering efforts.

"I had a great experience working at Tesla, learned a lot, and look forward to all the great technology coming from Tesla in the future," Keller said in a statement announcing his new role.

Matthew Schwall, director of field performance engineering, left Tesla in May. He was the company's main point of contact with the National Transportation Safety Board and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Tesla has been increasingly working with the agencies as it continues to test its autopilot and semi-autonomous vehicles.

Tesla hits parked California police car

Also in May, Cal Lankton left his role as vice president of energy sales and operations. He'd been at Tesla for nearly 5 years, and departed at a time when the company's solar business is in decline.

In June, Tesla lost Karim Bousta as vice president of worldwide service, Yannick Roux as director of manufacturing and Paul Lomangino as director of engineering. Roux and Lomangino had both been at Tesla for over 11 years.

Bousta followed his former colleague to Lyft and now serves as vice president for driver experience operations. Roux joined EtaGen, a maker of clean energy generators. Lomangino quietly joined Chinese automaker Byton as a senior manager of engineering tools.

In July, former Tesla engineering lead Doug Field left after what the company had characterized as a leave of absence to rejoin Apple's autonomous driving project. His role will be taken in part by new Tesla President Jerome Guillen.

Jeff Risher, deputy general counsel and chief IP litigation counsel, left Tesla in July after 2 years at the company. He now holds a similar role at Faraday Future.

Tesla executive Morton left after feeling Musk ignored him

Chief People Officer (Tesla's version of a head of HR) Gaby Toledano is extending her leave of absence from the company, Tesla said on Friday. Her role will be taken in part by new VP of People and Places Kevin Kassekert

Friday was also the last day at the company for Sarah O'Brien, vice president of communications, per a planned departure. O'Brien had been at the company for 2 years. Dave Arnold is being promoted to senior director of communications, the company said.

—CNBC's Lora Kolodny contributed to this report.