Elon Musk Does Not Want to Be a CEO

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During a legal battle where a Tesla shareholder questioned whether Elon Musk was focused enough on the electric car company to justify a nearly $56 million compensation package, Musk said being in charge is not really his thing.

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“I frankly don’t want to be the CEO of any company,” he said, per The Verge.

Musk, who runs Tesla, SpaceX and is also now “chief Twit” of newly-purchased Twitter, was in Delaware’s Court of Chancery this week over a lawsuit filed by a Tesla shareholder, Richard Tornetta in 2019.

Related: Elon Says He Was ‘Entirely Focused’ on Tesla As Court Debates His $56 Billion Compensation Package

Currently, the package is worth about $52 billion, per the company’s recent stock prices, as The Verge noted.

Tornetta’s lawsuit contended that Musk’s performance-based compensation package, set up by the company’s board in 2018, was ill-conceived and a conflict of interest because of Musk’s relationship with members of the board.

It also said that he was not focused enough on running Tesla to justify what Tornetta’s team called “the largest compensation grant in human history.”

Musk further discussed his relationship to leading his bevy of companies under questioning by the plaintiff’s team in Delaware Wednesday morning.

He said he prefers to act as an engineer or thought leader, per The Verge.

“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, per the outlet.

“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,” he added.

Musk also said in his testimony that he would “reduce my time at Twitter and find somebody else to run Twitter over time.”

That likely will be a welcome break for the overworked CEO, who said through a video stream at B20 in Indonesia earlier this week that he has “too much work on my plate, that’s for sure.”

“It’s not something I’d recommend, frankly,” he added. Musk reportedly worked 80 and 90-hour weeks — before owning Twitter.

Musk seems to have installed similar demands on Twitter’s remaining employees.

He laid off thousands of workers at the company earlier this month. In a leaked memo this week, Musk told Tweeps, “We will need to be extremely hardcore. This will mean working long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.”

Musk has previously been reported to be a difficult manager. In a 2018 Wired piece, one previous Tesla executive said, “Everyone [at the company] is in an abusive relationship with Elon.”


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