was recently sued by Tesla shareholders, who claim that his compensation as CEO was too high and that board approval was a breach of fiduciary duty.
On Wednesday, during a court hearing, Musk testified about the nature of his job. He admitted at the time that he did not want to be the president of , or any other company. Bold words for the president of four companies – Tesla, Twitter, SpaceX and The Boring Company. But it’s not the first time he’s said that. In July 2021, he tweeted the same thing when someone suggested they were a good CEO at Apple.
The billionaire also admitted that he plans to limit his activity on Twitter and, over time, hand over the management of the company to someone else.
What kind of CEO is Elon Musk?
During the hearing about Musk’s leadership at Tesla, his current or former managers were also asked. Tesla board member James Murdoch, when asked if Elon Musk never named his successor, denied it. And he added that it happened a few months ago –
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Murdoch, however, did not provide details of the talks. A little more was revealed by Musk’s friend, who sat on Tesla’s board from 2007 to 2021, Antonio Gracias. He testified that there were talks about an “administrative CEO” who would take care of finance, sales and human resources. This was to allow Musk to focus on his job as chief product officer, which Gracias said was his main function anyway. He added that he could not find the right person.
It was then that Musk also said that he did not want to be the CEO of any company. Then he explained that although he formally performs such functions, the president does not describe what he does in his enterprises very well.
“At Tesla I’m responsible for rocket engineering, and at Tesla I’m responsible for the technology behind its success,” Musk said
The CEO is often seen as someone focused on business. In fact, my role is to engineer the technology and make sure we’re working on groundbreaking projects, and we have amazing engineers on the team who can achieve those goals
– explained his role in Musk companies. He added that in his experience, great engineers only work for great engineers.
Musk’s continued employee problems
During the trial, the prosecution’s lawyers inquired about the (mainly autopilot engineers) who had been assisting on Twitter. Musk did not deny it and said that all he did was call in volunteers to work at Twitter after hours. He also tried to shift the responsibility to the board, claiming that none of its members said it was not a good idea to use Tesla resources in his other private company.
– It was an overtime job. If you’re curious, they helped me evaluate the engineers. I think it only lasted a few days,” Elon Musk testified. One of the lawyers then asked him if he thought using Tesla employees on Twitter was a good idea. Musk replied that he did not think of it as using Tesla’s resources. He added that the company employs 120,000 people. people and referred to the concept of de minimis aid, i.e. aid so insignificant that it does not distort competition on the market.
The case of the Tesla engineers is another chapter on Musk’s problems with managing people. In order for the platform to succeed, long hours of intensive work will be needed. The email (warning?) was accompanied by an ultimatum: either the employees decide to devote themselves to “hardcore” work, or they are to leave with severance pay. The deadline for making a decision expired at the end of the day on Thursday.
It is not known how many employees at Twitter have decided to stay. Perhaps some were persuaded by Musk’s withdrawal from the previously announced requirement for stationary work. J