Following his settlement with the SEC over his comments made on Twitter, Elon Musk had to step down from his role of Chairman of Tesla’s board.
Some have been questioning his influence over the board in his new role, but in a new interview, Musk was brutally honest about Tesla’s board and the SEC situation – saying that he “can get anything done that he wants” because he is the largest shareholder.
In October, a judge approved the settlement of SEC’s complaint against Musk over his “funding secured” comment about his attempt to take Tesla private.
One of the terms of the settlement is that Tesla’s board would have to get more oversight of Musk’s tweeting, but in a new interview with 60 minutes, Musk said that no one is really overseeing his tweeting.
Update: Tesla sent us the following statement:
“We can confirm the settlement is being complied with. This includes having a policy (which technically needs to be in place by December 28) that requires pre-approval of any communications that reasonably could contain material information.”
The CEO added that he “does not respect the SEC” and that the only reason he is respecting the settlement is that he “respects the justice system” and the settlement was made official by the court.
Another term of the settlement is that Musk had to resign from his role of chairman by the end of the year.
Some people suggested that Denholm was brought in to try to control Musk.
In the interview, Musk stated that the narrative didn’t make sense and that he actually “handpicked” her to replace him.
He even said that he could get anything passed at the board level:
“It’s not realistic in the sense that I am the largest shareholder in the company. I can just call for a shareholder vote and get anything done that I want.”
Musk currently owns about 22% of Tesla’s outstanding shares, which is not officially a majority position, but he has a lot of influence on other shareholders, which has so far resulted in votes going his way.
Following the settlement, Musk said he ‘removed all his titles’ at Tesla and nothing happened.
While it has been the understanding of many that Musk had control over the company, he never really admitted it until now.
I remember him even telling me that he doesn’t have “a controlling vote” when the whole “funding secured” situation was going down:
I don’t have a controlling vote now & wouldn’t expect any shareholder to have one if we go private. I won’t be selling in either scenario.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2018
But even then, I really didn’t understand people who were saying that a new chairperson would really have much of an influence on him.
This is not a Steve Jobs and Apple in the 1990s situation. Ever since Paypal, Musk has learned his lesson and he has been extremely good at retaining control over his companies as they grow.
We have been witnessing it with Tesla and SpaceX.
But it was interesting to see Musk openly talk about it in this new interview.