Deepak Ahuja will retire later this year as CFO of Tesla Motors, just as the company is poised for “intensive growth,” Reuters reports.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk broke the news Tuesday at the electric car maker’s annual shareholder meeting. Ahuja will help search for a successor before retiring.
“Together, we overcame the challenges of the early days at Tesla,” Musk said in a release. “As our first CFO, he guided us through several investment rounds, led the effort to take Tesla public, helped us become a strong business based on solid gross margins, and built a very strong finance team.”
Ahuja, a former Ford executive, joined Tesla seven years ago. He said the decision to retire was “difficult” but that he had helped build “a solid foundation for Tesla’s long-term success.”
“My time at Tesla has been a nonstop adrenaline rush,” Ahuja said in a statement. “It is time for me to check a few things off my bucket list and pursue other life goals.”
His retirement comes as the company is about to enter a period of intensive growth and equally intensive spending, Reuters said, noting that Musk reiterated on Tuesday that the company anticipates 50% annual growth over the next several years.
In his presentation to shareholders, Musk said deliveries of the new Model X crossover will start “in three to four months.” The gull-wing utility vehicle “is shaping up to be five stars in every category” in terms of safety ratings, making it one of the safest SUVs on the road, he said.
An early version of Tesla’s Autopilot self-driving program for the Model S sedan will be released by the end of this month, Musk announced. The program will include an auto-steering feature that will work in conjunction with radar, camera, ultrasonic sensors and special software.