It has been a turbulent few months for Tesla CEO Elon Musk. From sleeping on the floor in his Tesla factory to meeting production demands to his emotional interview with the New York Times, it is evident that it hasn’t been smooth sailing for the Tesla executive. The most problematic of his issues started on August 7th when he proclaimed that he was considering taking Tesla private. Below is the controversial tweet (which is still up):
This tweet was controversial for many reasons. First, it decimated Tesla short-sellers; Musk has been in a long-time feud with Tesla short-sellers and this tweet led to massive financial losses for Tesla short-sellers. There has also been speculation that Musk was referring to marijuana regarding taking Tesla at $420 specifically.
This tweet was entertaining at the time of its conception, but reality struck shortly after when Musk faced a barrage of lawsuits from short-sellers and an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. To make matters worse, Musk said he had financing from Saudi investors ready when he did not.
The Securities and Exchange Committee found him guilty of securities fraud and removed him from his chairman position; he remains as CEO of Tesla currently. In addition to his removal as chairman, the SEC fined Musk and Tesla $20 million each for the whole incident.
Many Tesla investors questioned keeping Musk as CEO because of his erratic behavior but he remains nonetheless. Surprisingly, Musk continues to voice his opinions on twitter about the fine by the SEC. When asked by a critic about his tweet that cost him $20 million, Musk replied that it was “worth it”. Below is the thread between Musk and the critic:
The SEC fine of $20 million is less than 1% of Musk’s net worth (22.1 billion) and from the looks of it, Musk seems unphased by the fine; he continues to tweet his opinions just as he did before the fine. Although the Tesla executive has more oversight on his public relations, he is exhibiting no signs of being shy from expressing his opinions.