elon musk

TESLA MUTINY: Are Major Shareholders Turning on Elon Musk?

Things are not going so well for Elon Musk this week, after a series of bizarre tweets were accompanied by less than ordinary explanations for them.

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The eccentric CEO’s behavior has been erratic in the past, but the gravity of the subjects on which he is treading now are far more serious than before.

Last month (though it seems like eons ago in TeslaWorld), Musk offered to send a submarine to help a group of boys trapped in a Thai cave. The reaction was predictably split. Supporters saw it as another magnanimous gesture from a man concerned with others’ welfare; skeptics saw it as yet another publicity stunt with no real-world impact.

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One of those skeptics was a British diver involved in the rescue, who criticized Musk’s efforts. On Twitter, Musk called him a “pedo guy” (short for pedophile). Musk apologized and deleted the tweet.

The apology apparently wasn’t all that sincere:

On Tuesday, Musk re-opened a can of worms that had been closed. Soon after, the diver’s lawyer told reporters that he was “finalizing the libel complaint.” And so now Musk, who by his own account is working 120 hours a week and sleeping in Tesla’s factory, has added yet another item to his list of responsibilities.

Now, a bold plan to remove some of Musk’s duties as Tesla has been revealed in an SEC filing.

Funds run by BlackRock Inc voted in favor of a recent shareholder proposal that would have required Tesla Inc to replace Elon Musk with an independent chairman.

BlackRock-managed funds voted for a measure requiring the chairman be an independent director, according to BlackRock’s filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday. The proposal, which was defeated, would not have affected Musk’s standing as Tesla’s chief executive officer.

More than 86 million shares voted against the proposal at a shareholder meeting in June, while fewer than 17 million voted in favor, Tesla said.

Some corporate governance activists call for the chairman and CEO roles to be split between two people to improve oversight, and the new filing revealed at least one major investor backed such changes at Tesla. BlackRock’s role in backing the proposal was not previously reported.

Given the undesirable direction that Tesla stock is headed, the move may not be the last to target Musk personally.

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