I hate being in charge, says Elon Musk: Tesla founder prefers to spend his time on ‘design and engineering’
Elon Musk says he “hates” to be the boss of electric car giant Tesla and that the company’s directors “don’t listen to me.”
The billionaire entrepreneur gave evidence in a lawsuit over the company’s £1.9bn acquisition of Solar City in 2016 and said he doesn’t like being in charge of Tesla, but added that it company couldn’t run without him.
“I’d rather hate it and would rather spend my time on design and engineering,” he said.
Grilling: Tesla founder Elon Musk (pictured) said he doesn’t like being in charge of the electric car maker, but added that the company couldn’t run without him
Tesla shareholders have accused Musk of pressuring them into signing the deal to buy Solar City, a solar panel manufacturer he co-founded with his cousins.
They say Tesla’s money was wasted on the acquisition, which they claim was essentially a bailout because Solar City was running out of money.
And Musk’s 22 percent stake in Tesla, they claim, makes him akin to a controlling shareholder — a role that would give him the ability to influence the company’s decisions more than other investors.
A judge will use the two-week trial to decide whether the Solar City deal was fair to Tesla shareholders.
If the judge rules out against Musk, who also runs the rocket company Space X, he could be asked to repay Tesla for what it spent on the deal. It could be one of the largest damage claims ever.
Musk, the third richest man in the world with a fortune of £115 billion, strenuously denies the allegations.
The 50-year-old father of seven testified for a second day with attorney Randall Baron, who admonished him about his role in the Solar City deal. “Your questions are so deceitful,” Musk complained.
They clashed over the meaning of the word “cabal,” which Baron used to characterize the Tesla team that briefed Musk daily about the deal in July 2016.
When Musk objected that “cabal” sounded sinister, Baron objected that it usually meant a group of people working together toward a common goal. “Usually not in a good way,” Musk muttered.
Musk rejected any idea that he was pressuring the board to go ahead with the acquisition, but acknowledged that he had recommended an acquisition price of $28.50 per share.
The board ultimately decided to offer $26.50 to $28.50 per share.
“Of course they don’t listen to me,” he said.