Published: Sun, September 09, 2018
Markets | By Terence Owen

Elon Musk making hasty promotions to rebuild Tesla as top execs leave

Elon Musk making hasty promotions to rebuild Tesla as top execs leave

Morton, who is walking away from a $350,000 base salary and a $10 million new-hire stock grant that would vest over four years, said he believed "strongly" in Tesla and that he had no disagreements with the company's leadership or its financial reporting.

Toledano, who has been on leave of absence from the company, said she would not be returning to the company.

Shares of Tesla fell Friday morning.

Elon Musk sipped whiskey and smoked marijuana during a two-and-a-half-hour podcast with comedian Joe Rogan that touched upon everything from flame throwers and artificial intelligence to the end of the universe. But Musk also said this isn't really a priority, and he also dismissed the concept of a flying auto as impractical.

The appearance was the latest unorthodox move by Musk, who has often surprised investors with brash and unpredictable behavior as Tesla has sought to live up to lofty manufacturing targets for its Model 3 electric auto.

In the Friday filing, Morton said. They say his questionable public persona culminated in his dubious claim on Twitter last month that he had "funding secured" to take Tesla private.

Tesla's $1.8 billion junk bond maturing in August 2025 plunged as much as 4 cents on the dollar to below 82 cents, a record low, in Friday trading, pushing the yield above 8.8 percent.

While the signal sent by the string of resignations was more concrete evidence of disfunction, Musk's decision to smoke pot on a live stream added fuel to swirling speculation that the executive's erratic behavior in recent months was influenced by drug use.

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Musk also told Rogan it was "wrong" and "dangerous" for people to buy the flamethrowers he sold earlier this year, and he said that The Boring Company, his tunnel-construction firm, "started out as a joke".

Musk also told Rogan that Tesla remains his focus, though he did ruminate aloud on a new idea to build an electric airplane that he thinks would be capable of taking off and landing vertically (VTOL), as Harrier jets do. The show took place in California, where recreational marijuana consumption is legal.

Mr Musk has said the company is producing more than 5,000 Model 3 electric cars per week, and that cash generated from the sales will bring sustained quarterly profits.

At this point, you have either made your peace with it and want to let Tesla's genius just be himself; or you've been wondering how on earth (that giant, lightly crusted ball of lava) the stock price has defied the onslaught of missed targets, tantrums, the tent, Pedo-Gate, and the take-private-yeah?-nah fiasco. "I don't find that it is very good for productivity".

In a premarket SEC filing, the company said its chief accounting officer, Dave Morton, was quitting, effective immediately.

Almost a dozen top executives have left Tesla this year.

And now that the technology that underpins Tesla's products has matured, is it time for a more traditional CEO to step in and help the company level-off into a stable and profitable enterprise?

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