Eight days ago, Tesla welcomed David H. Morton as Tesla’s New Chief Accounting Officer. Tesla’s CAO post was vacant since Eric Branderiz left the company for personal reasons in March this year. So it was natural for them to fill the position.
But what makes the new hire extremely different is – Dave Morton has one valuable experience, taking the company private and then taking them public again.
A hard to find talent.
According to Wiki, “In 2000, Seagate became a private company again. Luczo led a management buyout of Seagate. He believed that Seagate needed to make significant capital investments to achieve its goals. He decided to turn the company private, since disk drive producers had a hard time obtaining capital for long-term projects.”
Dave Morton joined Seagate in 1995, held multiple roles overseeing Seagate’s corporate finance, treasury and accounting activities, before he was appointed as CFO in 2015.
“Dave has been a meaningful contributor at Seagate for the last twenty years and has significant experience in supporting our business model and the financial governance of our operations.
Most recently he has successfully managed the operational aspects of our finance organization, including leading our cash management and corporate finance activities.
Dave’s background makes him well suited for Seagate’s evolving storage technology business and I look forward to his continued contributions and leadership.” – said Steve Luczo, Seagate’s chairman and chief executive officer after appointing Dave Morton as the CFO.
The most important thing to note here is, Dave Morton was part of the finance team at Seagate when the company went private in 2000 and he was there when the company went public again in 2002. Dave Morton not only has financial expertise, but he definitely knows a thing or two about taking the public-private-public road.
Elon Musk does not think that Tesla needs to stay private forever. In his email to employees, Musk said “This is not to say that it will make sense for Tesla to be private over the long-term. In the future, once Tesla enters a phase of slower, more predictable growth, it will likely make sense to return to the public markets.”
If Elon’s plan to take Tesla private goes through, it will be one of the biggest leveraged buyout in history (if the company takes the LBO route).
There are investors with deep pockets who will be willing to part own the company, but at the end of the day they are investors – which means they will need to see some form of return on their investment.
As Tesla keeps getting bigger and bigger, the value of their holding will keep getting bigger and bigger. There will be a point where the company will have to go public again for private investors to cash out their position. If Tesla keeps growing, as is their plan, it will be very difficult for them to stay private forever. They will have to get back to the public markets.
And David H. Morton clearly fits the requirements.