In a strangely cryptic message, Tesla disclosed in a regulatory filing last week: “On March 7, 2018, Eric Branderiz left Tesla for personal reasons. Tesla appreciates Eric's service to the company.”
What Tesla did not disclose is that Branderiz was the company's chief accounting officer. He had been serving in this position since October 2016. Previously, he served six years at SunPower Corporation, where he was senior vice president, corporate controller, and chief accounting officer.
Branderiz’s exit from Tesla follows the departures of more than a dozen Tesla executives in 2016 and 2017, some who held their roles for just a few months. Tesla's Chief Financial Officer Jason Wheeler is among those who left last year.
Too much pressure?
Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk faces a shareholder vote this month on an equity award that Tesla valued at $2.6 billion. “As Tesla continues to grow, we have created a new 10-year performance award for Elon that incentivizes him to not only continue to lead Tesla over the long-term, but to help the company achieve these great goals,” Tesla said in a securities filing. “[T]he basic premise is simple: Elon’s compensation will be 100% aligned with the interests of our stockholders.”
“Elon will receive no guaranteed compensation of any kind — no salary, no cash bonuses, and no equity that vests by the passage of time,” the proxy statement continued. “Instead, Elon’s only compensation will be a 100% at-risk performance award, which ensures that he will be compensated only if Tesla and all of our stockholders do extraordinarily well. The award consists of stock options that vest only if Tesla achieves specific milestones, which if fully achieved would make Tesla one of the most valuable companies in the world with a market capitalization of at least $650 billion — more than ten times today’s value.”