A Question for Tesla’s Board: What Was Elon Musk’s Mental State?

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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Elon Musk needs to recognize his limitations and bring in a strong No. 2 to help run Tesla: Analysts

Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk must recognize he can’t do it all and agree to bring in a strong No. 2 to run day-to-day operations at the electric automaker, leading analysts told CNBC on Tuesday.

“We think he’s going through a founder’s dilemma. He’s clearly stretched too thin,” Consumer Edge Research analyst James Albertine said on “Squawk Box.” “I think this is Elon going through personal issues, having his own struggles with the bears, very publicly.”

Musk had been acting acting erratically for months even before his take-private tweet two weeks ago, which raised concerns among investors and regulators in Washington.

In May, Musk rudely cut off analysts on Tesla’s first-quarter earnings call, something he apologized for on the second-quarter call earlier this month. He was also launching tweetstorm after tweetstorm all summer long as he was dealing with major production problems for the automaker’s new, less expensive sedan, the Model 3.

The board needs to bring in a chief operating officer or co-CEO to take some of the pressures off of Musk and allow him to concentrate on being a “brilliant leader as a visionary,” contended Albertine, who on Tuesday downgraded Tesla stock to equal weight and reduced his 12-month price target to $311 per share from $385.

Shares of Tesla broke a four-session, 14 percent losing streak on Monday, and the stock was logging a strong advance in early Tuesday trading.

 

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After Elon Musk’s ‘Pedo’ Tweet, Tesla Shares Fall 4% as Some Investors Worry About His Erratic Behavior

By KEVIN KELLEHER July 16, 2018

Tesla’s stock lost 4% of its value Monday following a rough weekend for its CEO Elon Musk.

Musk, who has taken to Twitter in recent weeks to combat his critics, drew criticism this weekend after calling a diver involved in the rescue of a Thai soccer team a “pedo.” The diver, Vern Unsworth, had criticized Musk’s effort to create a small submarine to rescue the soccer team members.

Thai rescuers succeeded in bringing the soccer team to safety without enlisting Musk’s help. Unsworth dismissed it as a PR stunt, telling Musk he could “stick his submarine where it hurts.” Musk then lashed back in a now deleted tweet that seemed to hint, by virtue of the British diver’s residence in Thailand, that he was a pedophile.

Unsworth has said he is considering legal action against Musk, while Tesla investors wasted no time in expressing their concerns about the CEO’s erratic behavior. Tesla slid 2.8% during official market hours Monday, before declining more than 1% in after-hours trading.

 

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The many failures of Elon Musk, captured in one giant infographic

Among the more recent ‘failures’: parts of the Tesla Model 3 were being made by hand, contributing to a shortage of vehicles ready for delivery
Going through a rough patch at work? Well, at least you probably didn’t get ousted as CEO of your own company, watch two of your companies hover on the brink of bankruptcy or get fired while on your honeymoon.

All of those things have happened at various points to Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, co-founder of Tesla TSLA, -0.33% , founder of Neuralink, co-founder of SolarCity and co-founder of X.com which eventually became PayPal , and who now has a net worth of about $15 billion.

Musk’s impressive resume is littered with accomplishments, but it’s worth remembering it’s not all sunbeams and soaring stock prices.

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