Wired published an article recently stating that despite rolling back plans to take Tesla private, CEO Elon Musk will still have to face an SEC probe — and angry investors.
The article titled “Keeping Tesla Public Won’t Save Elon Musk From the SEC — or Angry Investors” outlines how Tesla CEO Elon Musk will still have to answer for his tweets in which he claimed that he had “funding secured” to take the electric car manufacturer private — a claim which is now being questioned by an SEC probe despite Musk’s recent statement that Tesla will remain a public company.
The article states:
Don’t expect the feds to get less interested in Tesla just because it has decided to stay public. “I think the SEC’s interest in Tesla has been heightened, so they’ll be kept under close watch,” says Stephen Diamond, who studies securities law and corporate governance at the Santa Clara University School of Law.
In fact, the episode’s conclusion might get the regulators even more interested in pursuing Musk, or Tesla. “The regulators aren’t really impressed by the ‘JK’ defense,” says Peter Haveles Jr., a partner at the law firm Pepper Hamilton who represents financial institutions in enforcement actions. “There were two weeks of volatility in that stock. Because of the impact on the market, they’re not going to let go of this.”
Now it seems that Telsa’s investors may be losing interest in Musk’s antics and publicity stunts, which have undoubtedly helped to bring attention to the electric car manufacturer but often do not fit the needs of a serious company attempting to become profitable.
It is a big question for the company’s board, too. Its members have reportedly renewed their search for a Tesla number two, a Sheryl Sandberg to Elon’s Mark Zuckerberg. (At SpaceX, this role is filled, by all accounts capably, by president and COO Gwynne Shotwell.) Whatever the board chooses to do with Musk, expect its members to think long and hard about implementing firm policies about engaging with shareholders and the public.
“Corporate communications can be the salvation or the death of a company,” says Haveles. “If Tesla wants to attract new investors to deal with the refinancing of its debt, those investors need the confidence that they can be repaid in five, 10 years. They want confidence in corporate responsibility.” Relatedly: Tesla’s board has reportedly ordered Musk to step away from Twitter, with mixed success.
The article finishes by stating that Musk will continue to remain CEO of the company for now and will most likely continue sleeping under his desk at the Tesla Gigafactory.
For now, then, the hard work at Tesla continues, with Musk still at its helm (and still reportedly sleeping on the floor of his Fremont factory conference room, in his fave sleeping bag). Tesla plans to produce 6,000 Model 3s this week. That would make August its most productive month ever—along with one of its wildest.
Whether another 4,300 of those 6,000 cars will have to be reworked and fixed as the previous 5,000 produced by Tesla remains to be seen. Customers can only hope that the newest batch of Model 3 cars will have working steering and no nails protruding from the cars body.
Since the whole “taking Tesla private” debacle, Musk has returned to his usual pastime of getting in Twitter fights with detractors. One user questioned whether or not electric cars are as good for the environment as claimed considering many are produced in factories which produce large amounts of CO2 emissions.
But electric cars are still built in factories that I thought were just as bad if not worse in CO2 emissions than gas…
— Sean Quinn (@SeanHQuinn) August 25, 2018
Musk replied to the comment stating that Tesla’s production plant will be run by 100 percent renewable energy by the end of next year:
This is utterly false. Fossil fuel merchants of doubt have been pushing that bs for years. Tesla Gigafactory will be 100% renewable powered (by Tesla Solar) by end of next year.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 25, 2018
Tesla reportedly plans to make their Gigafactory entirely self-sustaining using a combination of rooftop solar panels, wind turbines, and Tesla Powerpacks for energy storage.