During the process for the payment of 56 billion dollars as CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk told the court that he doesn’t want to be the CEO of any company, including Twitter. And he explained his role in the various companies that he owns or is the principal investor. With several interesting statements.
Elon Musk doesn’t want to be the CEO, neither of Twitter nor of Tesla
On November 16, Musk testified in Chancery court. The same one that should have tried him for the decision not to continue the acquisition of Twitter, which as we know he acquired instead. But in this case, there was no mention of Twitter but of Tesla.
The billionaire CEO of the company received a package of shares for how he ran the company in 2017 by 56 billion dollarsi: a bonus considered exorbitant, which attracted the attention of the court. Who wants to understand if Musk and the company have not managed Tesla’s funds in a non-transparent manner.
As the Senator explains Elizabeth Warren in a tweet, Tesla is not Musk’s private company, but a publicly traded company with several shareholders. Then the $56 billion payment to the CEO will be reviewed by both the Chancery court and the Senate, with a dedicated commission. Musk is yet to appear in Congress, but he has argued in court about paying this sum and his role as a Tesla CEO. But also of SpaceX, the Boring Company e Twitter. You can read the entire transcript of her testimony on The Verge. But here are some interesting points.
More a “technoking” than a CEO
During the lengthy Q&A session, Musk explained that “Frankly, I don’t want to be the CEO of any company”. A declaration that comes a month ahead of the vote of the people of Twitter, who have asked for his resignation. Which he will only partially respect, remaining “head of the software and server teams”.
However, Musk explains that he is the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX in the same way: paying attention to technology rather than financial aspects. “At SpaceX I’m really responsible for rocket engineering and at Tesla for the car technology that makes them successful” explains. “So, often the CEO is seen as a business-centric role, but really my role is much more that of an engineer developing the technology.”
So much so that in 2021 he assumed a different title, informally, for Tesla. The prosecutor asked “He was totally sober when he invented iThe term ‘Technoking’ by itself, correct?”. With Musk replying “Yessssss?” in a skeptical tone.
Elon Musk doesn’t want to be the CEO of Twitter, nor of Tesla
During the hearing, the prosecutor asked Elon Musk if he wanted to spend time as CEO of Twitter, a question that serves to evaluate the time he devotes to Tesla (given the huge payout of 56 billion). Musk explained: “I expect to reduce my Twitter engagement and find someone else to handle it over time.”. Tesla board member James Murdoch (at a hearing after Musk) confirmed that Musk said he would also stepping down as CEO of Tesla in the future.
When the court asked how he ran his various companies in 2017, when the $56 billion bonus stock package arrived, Musk spoke in percentages. Less than 10% went to The Boring Company or Neuralink, with the r90% split between SpaceX and Tesla. But towards the end of the year he spent all his time thinking at the launch of the Tesla Model 3, which was in “production hell.”
Musk also reiterated that he spends the its time based on “where is the crisis”which explains his current dedication to Twitter.
The relationship with the regulators
When the court asked the CEO of Twitter and Tesla about his relationship with the SEC, the regulator that is also investigating this $56 billion payment, Elon Musk didn’t mince words. “Overall I think the SEC’s mission is right, but the question is whether they are executing this mission well. In some cases, I think not.”
In particular, he talks about the FTX case, where “investors have lost billions. Yet, the SEC keep chasing me although the investors received great rewards. That does not make sense”.
Musk also discussed the 2018 settlement with the SEC, in which Musk, among other things, relinquished his role as president of Tesla while retaining his role as CEO. One of the agreements concerned the need to get i approved tweet about Tesla before posting them. Musk says he doesn’t respect that clause because “The deal was done under duress, so it’s not valid.”
Musk’s testimony touched several points, but the sentence on the legitimacy of the payment of 56 billion dollars in bonuses will have to pass from a careful review of Tesla’s legal documents. So the sentence will not come very soon. If we add the inquiry to the Senate, the time could be longer. We will keep you updated on the development of the matter.