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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Elon Musk Had a Hilarious Response to More Than 60,000 People Canceling Their Tesla Model 3 Orders

By Justin Bariso Founder, Insight 

The Tesla Model 3, the mass-market electrical vehicle that may completely change the automotive industry, is here–and people are excited.

Well, most people, anyway. There are more than a few customers who are also disappointed.

About 63,000 people have canceled preorders for the electric car over the course of the past year, as revealed earlier this week by Tesla CEO Elon Musk on the company’s quarterly earnings call. (The number of orders dropped from about 518,000 to 455,000, Musk said.)

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State Funded Tesla-SolarCity Factory Slips Into Outright Corruption

Tesla’s merger with solar panel provider SolarCity is getting off to a rocky start as the merged company must now deal with corruption charges plaguing one of its solar panel facilities in New York.

Contractors working on a nearly $1 billion ($900 million) project in Buffalo haven’t been paid for work they started in July – the lack of cash has forced the state to lay-off workers. Tesla-SolarCity hopes to use the completed facility as a one-stop shop to produce solar panels, battery chargers, and electric vehicles.

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Insider Selling: Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) Insider Sells 33,430 Shares of Stock

Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) insider Jeffrey B. Straubel sold 33,430 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, November 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $190.82, for a total transaction of $6,379,112.60. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 359,655 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $68,629,367.10. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website.

Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) opened at 196.65 on Friday. Tesla Motors Inc. has a 12 month low of $141.05 and a 12 month high of $269.34. The stock’s market capitalization is $29.48 billion. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $194.23 and its 200-day moving average is $210.26.

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Tesla’s stock has had a rough 3 months — and it doesn’t look like things will get better

Tesla shares have declined almost 20% in the last three months, even as the automaker reported a surprisingly profitable third quarter and signaled to Wall Street that it has curtailed its cash burn and could finish 2016 with more money in the bank then expected.

The immediate problem for Tesla is political.

A Trump administration is unlikely to be friendly to electric cars — certainly not as friendly as the Obama administration. Obama was in the White House for almost the entirety of Tesla ascent as both a carmaker and a stock, with Tesla’s IPO taking place in 2010 and the Model S sedan hitting the streets in 2012.

Fortunately, Tesla is far more well established than it was when Obama took office in 2009. CEO Elon Musk’s company will sell a record-number of electric cars in 2016 — probably about 80,000 — and has a market cap of around $30 billion. It can hold on for a while, even if federal policies turn against it. And don’t forget the nearly 400,000 per-orders Tesla has for its forthcoming Model 3 mass-market vehicle.

The worry for the automaker now is that the end of the year and beginning of the next haven’t been happy financial times for the company, historically. Tesla shares have a pattern of sliding through the fourth quarter and continuing their decline into the first, only recovering once it establishes guidance for deliveries for the next year.

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Musk’s Tweet Fails To Recognize That Tesla Has Crossed The Rubicon With The Inventory Model

While many commentators have expressed disbelief that a CEO is not aware of the Company’s discounting practices, let’s give Mr. Musk the benefit of doubt. It is not that difficult to see that this unfocussed CEO does not know what is going on in his Company. Life is too busy contemplating life on Mars and trying to force the wrongheaded acquisition of SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY).

However, if Mr. Musk did not know the sales practices at Tesla, it brings forth a whole different set of questions:

– How can a competent CEO not know the sales practices at his Company? If the argument is that Mr. Musk does not have the time, then we suggest that the Company’s board is once again asleep at the wheel.

– What was Mr. Musk expecting that his sales teams would do when he sent a company-wide email to push hard to get strong Q3 results ahead of capital raise?

– Does Mr. Musk not discuss sales and promotional strategies with his sales and finance teams?

– Is Mr. Musk not aware that Tesla builds spec cars (also called “inventory”) which are not build-to-suit?

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