Yet Another Tesla Exec Leaves Amid Festering Finance Questions

Watch the Tesla execs hitting the exit ramps.

Tesla's (TSLA) Vice President of Global Supply Management, Liam O'Connor, is leaving the company, marking the sixth top executive to leave in recent weeks. 

Tesla executives have been flocking from the company this year - one after the next - in what some call a mass exodus that CEO Elon Musk can't seem to stop. Chief Accounting Officer David Morton announced two weeks ago he would leave the electric-vehicle maker, raising worries to one analyst about Tesla's accounts. While some think Morton may have seen something alarming in Tesla's accounts, others think he may have left simply because the business isn't indicating it'll improve performance. Chief People Officer Gabrielle Toledano also said she was leaving. The outflow of Tesla execs comes as the company faces a Department of Justice criminal probe spurred by Musk's "funding secured" tweet in which he claimed to have secured financing for a take-private transaction. 

O'Connor's departure, specifically, comes about two months after Tesla asked its suppliers for refunds on some of their purchase agreements. Tesla's financial position has come under fairly intense scrutiny, as its credit rating has taken a hit, its bonds are trading well below par, and its balance sheet has outright shrunk. The stock is down 7% this year, and off roughly .2% Friday, Sept. 21. 

One analyst thinks the departures, including the departure of O'Connor, who oversaw supplier agreements, are in part a reaction to the company's waning ability to generate cash flow, whether through profit or capital raising. "We believe it's hard for them to raise capital right now. This is why you're seeing this mass exodus," analyst Gordon Johnson of Vertical Group told TheStreet.

But Gene Munster, Managing Partner and co-Founder of Loup Ventures told TheStreet O'Connor's departure isn't necessarily indicative of a credit problem Tesla has with its suppliers although he does recognize it has a liquidity issue in general. "My understanding was that that thing in July {Tesla requesting refunds} happens with other car manufacturers - the ask for refunds," he said. Rather, any issue that arises with Tesla in particular raises the public's eye brows. "With Tesla, it raises more interest," he said. "I don't think there was an indication of some bigger problem."

Johnson, however, suspects some folks at Tesla are wary, and want to leave. "They have converts {debt} coming due in March. If the stock is above $360 per share, they can pay it out in stock," Johnson added, referring to the convertible debt Tesla owes. Its principle due in March is $920 million. Johnson's opinion - although it is not confirmed by any other party or document - is that it's possible Musk is working to move get the stock price up to $360, which is yet another reason he believes top employees are leaving. "That's why you have 61 executives that have left," he said. 

Tesla shares are currently trading at $297.71 apiece. 

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