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This article was published on July 13, 2021

Musk’s tragedy: I ‘hate’ being Tesla’s CEO but the company will ‘die’ without me

Musk is standing trial for the $2.6B all-stock deal with SolarCity

Musk’s tragedy: I ‘hate’ being Tesla’s CEO but the company will ‘die’ without me
Ioanna Lykiardopoulou
Story by

Ioanna Lykiardopoulou

Ioanna is a writer at SHIFT. She likes the transition from old to modern, and she's all about shifting perspectives. Ioanna is a writer at SHIFT. She likes the transition from old to modern, and she's all about shifting perspectives.

Folks, brace yourselves for what’s about to come…

Elon Musk has revealed that he hates being the CEO of Tesla. Oh boy!

Specifically, The Wall Street Journal reports the following words:

I rather hate it and I would much prefer to spend my time on design and engineering.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I feel devastated by the emotional turmoil he has been going through…

But wait, there’s more! According to Reuters, he also said that he has tried “very hard not to be the CEO of Tesla, but I have to or frankly Tesla is going to die.”

Hmm, that’s quite a low blow to the rest of Tesla’s team.

Where do those bitter remarks come from?

These heated statements came as Musk took the stand on Monday, during the first day of a two week-trial in the Court of Chancery in Wilmington, Delaware. 

Tesla’s (unwilling) CEO is being accused of having forced the company’s board members into a $2.6 billion all-stock deal to buy the solar panel firm SolarCity. 

The lawsuit by union pension funds and asset managers alleges that Musk depleted Tesla’s assets in order to save SolarCity from bankruptcy, without having informed the shareholders of the company’s dire financial situation. 

At the time of the deal in 2016, Musk owned roughly a 22% stake in both Tesla and SolarCity, which was founded by his cousins, Lyndon and Peter Rive.

According to the allegations, the CEO pushed for the transaction in order to bail-out his own investment in the solar panel firm.

If the accusations are found to be true, Tesla’s stakeholders demand that Musk returns the value of the deal back to the company.

Musk on the stand

Well, this seems like a pickle of a situation for our dear Elon, who didn’t lose his cool during his six hours on the stand. After all, being a celebrity chief executive requires maintaining a controlled confident attitude, right?

Reuters reports that Musk responded calmly during cross-examination from shareholder attorney Randall Baron, and naturally denied all allegations. 

He told the court that the he wasn’t part of the board committee that handled the deal. “I don’t even know what happened,” he testified.

He also refuted the accusation that he’d coerced the board members, stating that didn’t settle pay for the directors, nor had he the ability to hire or fire them.

And regarding using the deal for personal benefit, Musk testified that “there was no financial gain,” as he owned the same percentage in both companies and there wasn’t any cash involved in the deal.

He said the sole purpose was to combine Tesla’s battery business with the sustainable energy of SolarCity. Musk claimed to be unaware of the company’s financial troubles.

From today onwards, board members will begin testifying as well.

Is this a winner look or a "what have I done" look?
Credit: Reuters/ Jonathan Ernst
Elon Musk glancing at onlookers as he departs from the court on Monday.

Well, it’s very early to jump into any conclusions, and it’ll be months before we know if this turns out to be a big fat scandal, or if Musk will be triumphantly vindicated.

In the meantime, we got a glimpse into the soul of the celebrated entrepreneur, who sacrifices his own will and assumes the heavy responsibility of the CEO, not because Tesla is a $677 billion company, but because he’s the only one who can keep it alive…

So, I think I speak on behalf of all humankind when I say “please, please don’t resign, Elon Musk.”

Do EVs excite your electrons? Do ebikes get your wheels spinning? Do self-driving cars get you all charged up? 

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