Elon Musk Refutes Report James Murdoch May Replace Him As Chairman


Tesla founder Elon Musk has refuted a report that James Murdoch, son of News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch, may replace him as Tesla Inc. chairman in a short tweet.

Musk replied to a Financial Times tweet without elaborating.

The recent settlement reached by Tesla and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requires Tesla to appoint an independent chairman of the board by Nov. 13. The Financial Times report stated Murdoch was interested in the job. Murdoch, who joined Tesla's board as independent director last year, has experience in working with media companies but none in leading a company that makes electric vehicles.

Murdoch, who is currently the chief executive of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, is set to soon step down from that role. Tesla and Musk came under SEC scrutiny after Musk said he's considering taking the company private at $420 a share, the number being a slang for marijuana.

Musk said he had secured the necessary funding but his claim was unsubstantiated and it rocked the Wall Street, even as investors demanded more oversight of Musk. Under terms of the settlement with the U.S. regulators, Musk is not allowed to be re-elected as chairman for three years and Tesla has to appoint two new independent directors to its board.

Musk and Tesla also agreed to pay a fine of $20 million each as well.

Musk "is building a great company but has been erratic to say the least when it comes to thinking about his investors." Chaim Siegel, an analyst at Elazar Advisors, said. "The company needs some added stability at the top to win back investor confidence."

Many Tesla investors echo Siegel's sentiment at a time the company is facing manufacturing issues, production delays and losses every financial quarter. Musk is credited for establishing and growing Tesla at a time when the U.S. automakers are struggling to fend off competition from foreign rivals. His vision and audacious showmanship have transformed Tesla into a $43 billion corporation and garnered both him and the company legions of fans, but Musk's erratic behavior, including calling a British cave rescuer in Thailand a pedophile and joking on April Fool's Day that Tesla was going bankrupt, made many investors question Musk's leadership capabilities.

Musk also shot off a sarcastic tweet last Thursday to the SEC, just hours after Judge Alison Nathan with the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, ordered him and the SEC to explain why their settlement was fair and reasonable. 

In a joint filing late on Wednesday, Tesla and SEC in support of the settlement said the terms were in the best interest of investors.

"We therefore respectfully submit that the court should accept and enter the proposed consent judgments," the joint filing stated.

Read the full statement below.

SEC v Elon Musk - Joint Sub... by  on Scribd

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