The world’s richest man Elon Musk, who currently serves as the CEO of three of the companies he owns, has claimed he doesn’t want to be the head of any company. The Twitter, Tesla, and SpaceX CEO made the comments in court as he battles a suit brought by a Tesla shareholder who is questioning the pay and benefits the billionaire is entitled to. Musk is no stranger to the inside of a courtroom, having previously been sued by a branch of the United States government, a diving instructor who saved several Thai children from a flooded cave, and the former board of Twitter, which is his latest acquisition. This is just a small selection of the cases Musk is involved in, and many other suits have been filed against the controversial billionaire.
As Bloomberg Law explains, the case in question involves a shareholder’s objection to the $55 billion deal Musk received to serve as CEO of Tesla in 2008. Richard Tornetta, the owner of nine shares of Tesla that have a total value of $1,682.28 at the time of writing, has brought the case to trial. He claims that the Tesla board did not “exercise independence” from Musk when it drew up the deal and awarded him “the world’s largest compensation plan” despite Musk being “part time” and serving as the head of several other companies which he takes an active part in managing.
Musk doesn’t want to be a CEO
During the trial, Musk claimed that although he is legally the CEO, the traditional image of the job did not fit the role he played at his companies. Musk explained: “At SpaceX it’s really that I’m responsible for the engineering of the rockets and Tesla for the technology in the car that makes it successful,” Musk said. “So, CEO is often viewed as somewhat of a business-focused role but in reality, my role is much more that of an engineer developing technology and making sure that we develop breakthrough technologies and that we have a team of incredible engineers who can achieve those goals.”
CNBC has reported that Musk says he “does not want to be the CEO of Tesla,” and “never wanted to be the CEO of any company.” The billionaire also claimed he doesn’t intend to stick around as the head of his latest acquisition, Twitter, and will “reduce [his] time at Twitter and find somebody else to run Twitter over time.” Musk has certainly made Tesla one of his main focuses since acquiring the company in late October. The eccentric billionaire is allegedly sleeping at Twitter’s Silicon Valley headquarters as he leads efforts to fix the company (via Business Insider).
The hands-on executive also seems to expect a similar level of commitment from his new employees. Since his takeover, rumors persisted of employees being forced to hit tight deadlines or face dismissal, and accept taking on round-the-clock shifts. Earlier today, that level of commitment was made official as Musk sent an early morning email out to Twitter’s remaining staff. The staff members, who all survived the extensive layoffs the company made earlier this month, were told to accept a “hardcore” new schedule or leave the company.