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Apr 25, 2024

People moves: Martin Viecha to depart Tesla after seven years in IR

Plus BAE Systems’ head of IR Martin Cooper to take up role as CFO at CinetiQ Group

Tesla’s long-standing head of IR, Martin Viecha, is stepping down from the carmaker after seven years of steering stakeholder communications at Elon Musk’s firm.

Viecha announced his intention to resign toward the end of Tesla’s earnings call, held on Tuesday, April 23, mentioning that he had met with CEO Musk and the firm’s CFO Vaibhav Taneja a month earlier to discuss his plans.

‘I’ll be hanging around for another couple of months… so feel free to reach out at any time,’ he said on the call. ‘But after the seven-year sprint, I’m going to be taking a break and spending some good-quality time with my family.’

While Viecha did not say exactly when his stint at Tesla would end, he added that he would not participate in the next quarter’s earnings call, likely taking place in July. ‘I’ll be on the other side, listening in,’ he told investors.

Viecha joined Tesla as vice president of investor relations in 2017. Musk said on the call he was grateful to his former head of IR for the contributions he had made to the firm: ‘I reached out to you because I thought your analysis of Tesla was the best I had seen. Yes, thank you for helping Tesla to get to where it is today over seven years. It’s been a pleasure working with you.’

In the UK, Martin Cooper, the former head of IR at BAE Systems, has been announced as the new group CFO at QinetiQ Group, another UK-based defense company, effective from October this year.

Serving most recently as IR director, Cooper held several other roles at BAE Systems, including UK & rest of world financial controller and divisional finance director. He will succeed Carol Borg, currently serving as group CFO, who is stepping down in July. Heather Cashin, CinetiQ’s group financial controller, will serve as interim CFO in the meantime.

Steve Wadey, group chief executive at CinetiQ, says: ‘The board and I are delighted we have secured the talents of… Martin and welcome him to the QinetiQ team. [He] brings valuable global experience, coupled with deep financial and operational expertise. His detailed understanding of our sector and the markets we operate in will be instrumental in helping the group perform and grow.’

Elsewhere, IR Magazine Award-winner Robert Doody has moved on to a new position as senior vice president of investor relations at biopharmaceuticals firm Prelude Therapeutics. He joins the Wilmington, Delaware-based company, which specializes in late-stage cancer treatments, from his previous position as senior vice president of investor relations at Aclaris Therapeutics.

In 2013, Doody helped ViroPharma take home two IR Magazine Awards before it became part of Shire Pharmaceuticals: best overall investor relations (small cap) and best investor relations professional (small cap).

Matthew Tractenberg has taken up a new role as vice president of finance and investor relations at Atlanta, Georgia-based solar power technology firm Shoals Technologies Group. Formerly vice president of IR at electric vehicle charging company Wallbox and senior vice president of IR at Q4, Tractenberg says he is ‘happy to share’ news of his new appointment, writing on LinkedIn.

Finally, Salwa Gradl has moved to a new position as director of investor relations at UAE-based telecommunications firm Du.

She joins the company, which provides telephone, internet and digital television services across the UAE, from her previous role as investor relations manager for German aerospace firm Airbus. Prior to that, she served in other roles at Airbus, including as a business performance and cash-management specialist and a credit and equity analyst.

Laurie Havelock

Laurie has been part of the IR Magazine team for more than a decade, starting out as a reporter and research editor before becoming editor in 2023. He was previously acting business editor at the i newspaper and deputy business editor at The Daily...