By James B. Stewart

There’s no question that Elon Musk is one of the great entrepreneurs of this era. He may even be in “a class of one,” as he recently described Tesla, the revolutionary electric car company he founded.But Mr. Musk’s tweet last week — expressing his intent to take Tesla private and declaring that he had “funding secured” for the multibillion-dollar transaction — was so impulsive, potentially inaccurate, poorly worded and thought out, and with such potentially dire consequences for himself, Tesla and its shareholders, that the board now must ask a sensitive but vital question: What was Mr. Musk’s state of mind when he wrote it?

“What does this say about the judgment of the person who set all this in motion?” said Charles M. Elson, director of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. “That’s what the board has to find out.”

Mr. Musk, in subsequent blog posts, has stressed that he was only trying to be as transparent with the public as he was about to be with a few major investors.

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