WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Elon Musk’s string of bizarre actions is causing Tesla’s stock to continue falling as investors are getting worried about the bad publicity.
- Even high-ranking officers have distanced themselves from the company as a result.
- While it can be a problem for Musk to keep his public actions in check, what he may need is a capable chief operating officer to help lighten the load.
Tesla’s growing sales, alternative energy initiatives, and ambitious plans to reinvent the American automotive world would have continued to stir up the business world and attracted more potential investors – especially after analysts have predicted a profit in the fourth quarter and a full year of profitability in 2019.
Instead, CEO Elon Musk smoking a blunt with Joe Rogan has been the headline, causing worry for everyone. Add that to rapper Azealia Banks’ Instagram posts of being in Musk’s house while he was on acid, his New York Times tearful talk about his Ambien use and his baseless accusations about a diver in the Thai cave rescue.
Elon Musk has become an easy punchline for comedians – a walking Page Six item.
All this may have contributed to the brain drain recently going on at Tesla.
After just one month on the job, Chief Accounting Officer Dave Morton is leaving Tesla due to concerns about “the level of public attention placed on the company.”
Meanwhile, Chief People Officer Gaby Toledano extended her leave of absence to “spend more time with her family and has decided to continue doing so for personal reasons.”
Tesla’s (TSLA) stock also greatly suffered as shares fell around 6% Friday, bringing the total decline to more than 15% this year, putting its value at more than 30% below the all-time high hit last year.
Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster explained in a blog post on Friday that he suspects Tesla’s board is trying to put controls in place to limit Musk’s outlandish behavior.
But “Musk is not going to be conventional. Breaking the mold is part of his PR strategy,” Munster said.
That seems to be the problem, however, as Munster adds, “At times, Musk appears to be working against himself. At the core, we believe he wants to prove his doubters wrong, but many of his actions strengthen the case against him.”
Munster advised Musk to delete his Twitter account, stop talking about the Thai rescuer, and not use pot in a public setting.
But Musk may need to do even more than that – he needs someone to help lighten the load. Perhaps what Tesla needs is a chief operating officer, just as SpaceX, another company he runs, has highly-regarded COO Gwynne Shotwell.
There are even stories about how Musk ends up sleeping at Tesla, but not at SpaceX. Perhaps if he had someone like Shotwell to help him out, he – as well as the Tesla investors – would be able to rest well.
Source: CNN Money