Bloomberg: Elon Musk’s Joke Isn’t Funny Any More

Musk says he is in talks with the Saudi government's sovereign wealth fund as part of his efforts to take Tesla private
AFP

A column by Liam Denning in Bloomberg News argues that Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s antics towards employees, investors, and the general public are growing worrisome.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has had an unusual 2018 as far as it goes for chief executives. He launched a line of flamethrowers, he shot a Tesla car into space, and he began dating musician Grimes. And that is just the beginning of it.

In a column for Bloomberg News on Friday, Liam Denning blasted Musk for his erratic behavior. Denning argues that Musk’s behavior is driving both employees and investors crazy.

Denning took aim at Musk’s Thursday appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast, which included a segment in which Musk sounded more like a high college student than the CEO of a massive tech conglomerate.

Throw in the whiskey and that joint and, by the end, we were deep into something approximating a televised therapy session and one of those deep-in-the-night college “debates” that are, for most of us, a mercifully hazy memory. “Earth is a giant ball of lava with a thin crust on the top, which we think of as, like, the surface” sounds like something I just made up to poke fun, but was actually said by the man running a $48 billion enterprise deemed by many to be seriously undervalued.

On Friday morning, Tesla’s Chief Accounting Officer Dave Morton made his resignation from the company public. In his resignation letter, Morton heavily implied that Musk’s public behavior had frazzled him.

“Since I joined Tesla on August 6th, the level of public attention placed on the company, as well as the pace within the company, have exceeded my expectations,” he said in a statement. “As a result, this caused me to reconsider my future. I want to be clear that I believe strongly in Tesla, its mission, and its future prospects, and I have no disagreements with Tesla’s leadership or its financial reporting.”

Denning comments on the resignation of Morton, writing:

Can I be the only one not terribly reassured by the latter part of that statement from a man who jumped ship after 29 days? And to think, he got out even before Musk decided to exceed his expectations still further by blazing up on camera.

It turns out I’m not the only one not reassured by all this. Tesla’s HR chief told Bloomberg News she was quitting. The stock fell another 8 percent on Friday morning, revisiting levels seen in the panic of late March. Tesla is now worth roughly $21 billion less than it was in the immediate aftermath of Musk’s infamous “funding secured” tweet.

Goldman Sachs has also joined the list of those no longer entertained by Musk — The firm predicts a 30 percent drop in Tesla’s stock price over the next six months.

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