You may have seen media reports suggesting that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has plans to leave Tesla or step down as CEO. While that could potentially be the case at any given time, that’s not what this story is about. Instead, during the ongoing court case about Musk’s pay package, a board member answered a question, which revealed that Musk has told the board who a successor would be if needed.
As soon as we saw the news that Tesla board member James Murdoch made reference to a potential successor to Elon Musk as Tesla’s future CEO, we were concerned that the story would go wild. Almost immediately, there was all sorts of speculation on social media that the vocal CEO may choose Twitter over Tesla, that he may step down as Tesla’s CEO, and the assumptions went on and on.
The media and investors keep a close eye on such high-profile court cases knowing full well that unless the “celebrity” and/or the witnesses perjure themselves, there’s a really good chance some tasty morsels of information will come out. In this case, Tesla board member Murdoch commented that Musk recently mentioned a person who could be his future successor as Tesla’s CEO.
Perhaps more interesting is that Murdoch said just a few months ago during his initial deposition that Musk hadn’t spoken of a successor. Just this week, he answered a similar question differently. When asked if Musk has talked about a potential successor since the deposition, Murdoch noted that the CEO has. While it sounds like Musk actually provided Tesla’s board with a name, Murdoch didn’t provide that information.
We do know that Musk’s plate is very full and that he never really wanted to be Tesla’s CEO in the first place. It has seemed at times that he’s much more excited about his role at SpaceX than he is at Tesla, though the focus seems to flip-flop. Musk also owns and runs a few other companies, and now he’s the owner and temporary CEO of Twitter, which is clearly taking up almost all of his time.
That said, just because Musk provided the Tesla board with the name of a person he sees fit to replace him, if necessary, this is not a ticket to write news stories saying he’s about to leave. He may eventually step down as CEO but still remain a leader at Tesla. He may leave entirely, or he may not. Regardless, it’s not uncommon for company boards to be made aware of a list of potential successors. In fact, it’s a wise move, since anything can happen.
We’ll have to wait and see how all of this plays out. We’re not willing to speculate or cloud the information that’s been shared from the trial. However, we’d love to read what you think. Head down to the comment section and start a conversation. How long will Musk remain as Tesla’s CEO? Will he eventually move to a new role? Who is the mysterious potential successor?
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