Elon Musk is stepping down as Tesla chairman after being leveled with fraud charges by the US Securities and Exchange Commission. You might recall that the controversial businessman, on August 7 this year, tweeted about his intent to take his publicly held electric vehicle company private at $420 a share. “Funding secured,” he said at the time.
That tweet sent Tesla’s shares through the roof, only to plummet back down when it became apparent that Musk’s online declaration had no solid basis in the real world. The weird episode further damaged the credibility of the troubled carmaker and its founder.
This unfortunate development punctuates a particularly rough time at Tesla, no doubt brought about by Musk’s aggressive behavior on social media
This unfortunate development punctuates a particularly rough time at Tesla, no doubt brought about by Musk’s aggressive behavior on social media. On August 21, Musk took down his popular Instagram account in what was presumably an attempt to quell negative talks surrounding him—including those that focused on his romantic relationship with the Canadian musician Grimes.
On top of his dishonorable expulsion from Tesla’s board of directors, both Musk and the company have agreed to pay $20 million each to the government regulators. While Musk will remain as CEO, Tesla will now have to find an independent chairman who is brave enough to stand up to the cocksure boss. The 47-year-old Musk has kept his Twitter account, which he has used to promote his other businesses (like SpaceX and The Boring Company) and to challenge his ardent critics.