Photograph by Getty Images
By Kirsten Korosec
February 23, 2017

Tesla’s former chief financial officer is coming out of retirement and returning to the company as it prepares to produce its mass-market Model 3 electric sedan.

Tesla announced Wednesday that CFO Jason Wheeler, who joined the company in 2015, will leave in April for a job in public policy. Wheeler will be replaced by Tesla’s first CFO, Deepak Ahuja, who held the position for seven years until retiring in 2015.

Wheeler was Google’s vice president of finance for 13 years before coming to Tesla.

Ahuja will formally take over the role in early March. Wheeler will remain at the company until then, Tesla said in a blog post that coincided with its fourth-quarter earnings report.

“I’m looking to scratch an itch I’ve had for many many years now,” Wheeler said Wednesday during the company’s earnings call.

Wheeler added that he wouldn’t have felt comfortable about leaving Tesla if didn’t have a good plan in place for the company.

During Wheeler’s short time at Tesla, he helped lead the acquisition of residential solar panel company SolarCity and prepare for the launch of Model 3. He also helped lead the company to a profitable quarter last year, its first after 12 quarterly losses and only the second one in the company’s history.

Ahuja was once one of Tesla’s longest-serving executives and an important fixture as it grew and held its initial public offering in 2010 as well as rougher financial times.

In first leaving Tesla, Ahuja said he had other things on his bucket list to “check off.” Returning to Tesla may be another item to mark off on his list.

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