Monday, 15 October, 2018

Elon Musk resigns as Tesla chairman with multi-million dollar settlement

Elon Musk Elon Musk to give up role of Tesla chairman
Kelvin Reese | 01 October, 2018, 21:40

Neither responded to requests for comment.

Shares of Tesla Inc jumped almost 15 percent on Monday after Chief Executive Elon Musk settled a lawsuit from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that sought to remove him from company management.

Investors anxious that heralded a long-drawn out fight with the regulator that would see Tesla lose its talismanic leader, undermine its ability to raise capital and cripple operations as it ramps up production of its crucial Model 3 sedan.

Loup Ventures Managing Partner Gene Munster noted that the SEC settlement is the best outcome possible from Elon Musk's "funding secured" fiasco.

Tesla and Musk ended up accepting harsher penalties than the SEC originally proposed to settle the claims, according to the person familiar with the deal.

The settlement should place more oversight on Musk as required by the SEC while not taking the "devastating" measure of forcing him out, industry insiders said last night.

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Tesla analyst Garrett Nelson of CFRA Research upped his rating on the stock Monday morning to Hold, after downgrading it on Friday to Sell.

The agreement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission will come as a relief to investors, who had feared a lengthy legal fight. In it, the regulatory body alleged that Musk made "false and misleading" statements in August tweets about his plans to take Tesla private at $420 a share.

An army of Tesla-owning volunteers swooped in over the weekend to help deliver cars to new buyers while Musk cheered on his employees, telling them in emails to "ignore all distractions" and that they were on the cusp of "an epic victory beyond all expectations". With products like the Model S, Model X and, even with its production woes, the Model 3, it's easy to see why.

Nelson, who called the $20 million fine as "pocket change", noted that as part of the settlement, the company will have a "healthier level" of corporate governance as it separates the chairman and CEO roles, and requires the appointment of two new outside members to the board.

The settlement with the SEC won't be the end of the matter, though, as Musk is also facing a series of class action lawsuits relating to the tweets.

As part of the multi-million dollars settlement, Musk will remain as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), but can't take the seat as the chairman for three years.

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