Former Toyota USA President Jim Press said in a recent interview that Tesla CEO Elon Musk needs to delegate more and work with an outside distributor if he wants to make Tesla “sustainable.”
In a recent interview with CNBC, former Toyota USA President Jim Press discussed the issues that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has faced in recent months, offering some suggestions on how Musk could alleviate some of these problems and make Tesla “sustainable.”
The key points that Press focused on were Musk’s lack of delegation and Musk’s need to work more closely with distributors: “You need to have a marketing organization, have to have sales, you have to have an active distribution channel, and you really do need day-to-day management operation,” said Press. “You can’t sit by the plant and spend the night there to run everything. You can’t funnel everything through one person.”
Press took issue with some of Musk’s claims that pressure from short-sellers and constant expectations for Tesla’s stock price are a distraction and that the company should be made private. Musk tweeted that he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private, a claim which the SEC is now investigating. Press believes that the market has actually been quite fair to Tesla but now, “There’s some reality coming into it,” meaning that Tesla must soon become profitable or face a further market downturn.
“The reality is, the market treats him very well. If you look at the market cap of Tesla, $50 billion, compared to Ford, that makes a profit — the stock is about $9 — it shows the disconnect, and there is an adjustment that’s occurring,” Press said.
Press believes that in order for Tesla to become profitable Musk must delegate more on a day-to-day basis. “I always have a saying, and that is, you don’t have stress, you should give it. And [Musk] doesn’t have anyone to give it to,” Press said. Press believes that Musk should be taking a more overarching look at the company.
“He is the only one that’s trying to run the distribution channel and capitalize that at the same time. There’s a whole opportunity there for an independent distribution channel to take half the workload off and create the sales,” Press said.
Press says he understands why Musk might want to take Tesla private but that for now, it may be in Musk’s best interest to hold off on that course of action. “I understand the frustration, but going private may not be the best. You know, the devil that you know — versus the devil you don’t — may actually treat him better,” Press said.