SEPTEMBER 7, 2018
Tesla shares fell 9 percent Friday as the resignation of its chief accounting officer after just a month at work spooked investors amid another social media storm around billionaire chief executive Elon Musk.
The company, hurt in the past month by Musk’s high-profile U-turn on a deal to take it private, said Chief Accounting Officer Dave Morton had resigned, citing discomfort with the level of public attention and pace of work.
That followed a twitter storm overnight about Musk smoking marijuana and drinking whisky in a 2-1/2-hour live web show with comedian Joe Rogan.
Bloomberg also reported Tesla’s Chief People Officer Gaby Toledano was to leave the company just over a year after joining.
Tesla was not immediately available for comment.
Some Wall Street analysts called again for the company to appoint another senior leader for the company to take the pressure off Musk, or rein in his control.
“We have been calling for a Co-CEO or COO to assist to codifying the leadership structure and in so doing, the culture at Tesla,” said James Albertine, an analyst at brokerage Consumer Edge.
“We think this is further evidence that the time is now for management and the Board to address these issues.”
Tesla shares, down just 1 percent after Musk’s appearance on the Rogan podcast, fell an additional 7 percent in the half hour after the Morton’s resignation. They were down 9 percent ahead of the open.
“I want to be clear that I believe strongly in Tesla, its mission, and its future prospects, and I have no disagreements with Tesla’s leadership or its financial reporting,” the company quoted Morton as saying in a filing.
The forty-seven year old billionaire spent two and a half hours on a podcast late Thursday discussing everything from artificial intelligence and its impact on humankind to flame throwers and social media.
Taking a puff from a joint — which Rogan said was a blend of tobacco and marijuana and legal in California — Musk said he “almost never” smoked.
“I’m not a regular smoker of weed,” Musk said. “I don’t actually notice any effect…I don’t find that it is very good for productivity.”