Forty-five-year-old Vaibhav Taneja is now the new Chief Financial Officer (CFO), in addition to his role as the current Chief Accounting Officer (CAO) of Elon Musk’s car brand Tesla, taking over from predecessor Zachary Kirkhorn, who had held the position for 13 years. This appointment was finalised on 7 August 2023.
Who Is Vaibhav Taneja?
From India, Taneja is a commerce graduate from the University of Delhi. He became a Chartered Accountant (CA) in 2000. From July 1999 – March 2016, Taneja worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the four big accounting firms in India and the US, occupying the role of Senior Manager in San Jose, California, for 12 years. Then, he joined SolarCity in 2016, the same year Tesla acquired it for $2.5 billion. The period was one year, in which he held the positions of Vice President, Accounting Operations and Vice President, Corporate Controller.
In February 2017, Taneja formally joined Tesla Inc. as Assistant Corporate Controller and was promoted to Corporate Controller in May 2018. Afterwards, he was made Chief Accounting Officer of the firm in March 2019. Before attaining the latest CFO position, he was appointed as a director for Tesla’s Indian branch, Tesla Indian Motors and Energy Private Limited, in January 2021.
Taneja joined Tesla at a time when the company is prioritising sales over profits, and his rich experience in the various sectors of technology, finance, retailing and telecommunications will come in incredibly handy after the departure of Kirkhorn. As corporate controller for SolarCity, he collaborated closely with previous CFO Deepak Ahuja and Kirkhorn on Tesla’s quarterly earnings and financial planning.
On LinkedIn, Taneja has described his skillset and strengths as follows: “Solid understanding of US Generally Acceptable Accounting Principles,” and “more than 17 years of experience in several financial-oriented industries.” He also states: “Well-developed problem-solving capabilities and significant experience in helping companies set up their business processes and streamlining of existing processes.”
Meanwhile, Kirkhorn, in his LinkedIn post, announced Taneja’s name as the new CFO.
"This morning Tesla announced that I've stepped down from my role as Chief Financial Officer, succeeded by our Chief Accounting Officer, Vaibhav Taneja," Mr Kirkhorn said in a LinkedIn post.
"Being a part of this company is a special experience, and I'm extremely proud of the work we've done together since I joined over 13 years ago. As I shift my responsibilities to support this transition, I want to thank the talented, passionate, and hard-working employees at Tesla, who have accomplished things many thought (were) not possible. I also want to thank Elon for his leadership and optimism, which has inspired so many people," he said.