Elon Musk is not a Chief Executive Officer like the others.
Tesla’s (TSLA) boss is atypical.
He refuses to abide by the rules that are often imposed on directors of public companies.
The billionaire did not hesitate to re-launch his confrontation with the US Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), despite a 2018 settlement with the regulator.
In September 2018, the two sides agreed to end an investigation into a tweet from Musk, posted on August 7, 2019, that caused the price of Tesla stock to fall.
“Consider taking Tesla private for $420. Financing secured,” the billionaire wrote at the time.
Ongoing tensions with the SEC
The tweet shocked Tesla stock. The SEC has filed a complaint against Musk.
A settlement was reached and announced on September 29, 2018. It required Musk to step down as Tesla’s chairman. Tesla and Musk agreed to pay $40 million in fines. Tesla also agreed to allow the company’s lawyers to pre-approve tweets containing material information about the company.
Last April, a federal judge in New York told the billionaire in a ruling that he would not terminate the agreement that called for his social media posts to be approved by a corporate attorney if they contained material information about Tesla.
Musk pushed back, saying the previous agreement hindered his free speech. He said the SEC used the agreement to launch “endless, limitless” investigations into his public statements.
“None of the arguments hold up,” Judge Lewis J. Liman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York wrote in a ruling.
Few CEOs would risk attacking the SEC like Musk does. These tensions also suggest that the billionaire values his uniqueness and has just proved it yet again.
On Oct. 2, Tesla shareholder Ross Gerber Musk wrote on Twitter asking how investors should view Tesla, after the company presented the progress of Optimus, the company’s humanoid robot, on Sept. 30. Musk’s response was scathing.
‘I don’t care to increase the stock’
“Hello @elonmusk, happy to talk about the long-term global economic implications of Optimus and how investors should see Tesla moving forward. $tsla,” Gerber posted on Twitter.
“I don’t care to raise the stock,” the billionaire said. “But the economic implications are clear.”
Very few CEOs would dare to make such a statement for fear of retaliation from their Boards and a sanction from the markets. Not Musk, who sees himself as a visionary, not just an entrepreneur. He has made it his mission to transform civilization as it is today.
The tech tycoon showed a dancing Optimus on Sept. 30, gesturing with one of his hands and his knees bent during Tesla AI Day. He promised a mass production of his robot as soon as possible.
Optimus costs less than $20,000.
“Our goal is to create a usable humanoid robot as quickly as possible. We also designed with the same discipline that we use when designing the car, which is design for production, so that it is possible to make the robot at a high volume. at low cost with high reliability,” said the billionaire.
Optimus will usher in a “future of plenty,” Musk said. It will be “a future where there is no poverty, where people can have what they want, in terms of products and services. It really is a fundamental transformation of civilization as we know it.”
Nevertheless, the robot remains a work in progress.
Tesla will be working on a variety of use cases, including cooking and gardening. Musk wants to replace human labor with humanoid robots made from the artificial intelligence software Tesla uses for its cars.