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Al Gore rejects call to assume Elon Musk's role as Tesla chairman

Zack Guzman
·Senior Writer
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Tesla has to find a new chairman now that Elon Musk was ordered to step down from the role by mid-November as part of his settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. As part of that deal, Musk also has to pay $20 million in fines.

Longtime Tesla bull and managing partner at venture capital firm Loup Ventures, Gene Munster, was quick to single out a few possible candidates — among them former Vice President Al Gore, who has been an Apple board member since 2003.

“Obviously renewable energy is a big part of what [Mr. Gore] has been advocating for many years,” Munster told Bloomberg Monday, adding that he’s a person that “Elon would agree to, which is an important part of the equation.”

Gore, also a well-known environmental activist who starred in the award-winning climate change documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” would indeed be seemingly aligned with Musk and Tesla’s mission to put more electric cars on the road. However, Gore’s press office flatly rejected the idea of Gore becoming the chairman of Tesla in an email to Yahoo Finance.

Mr. Gore is a big fan of Tesla and of Elon Musk, but he has a full plate of responsibilities and is not considering taking on any new roles,” the statement said.

Former Vice President Al Gore would have been a good choice to take over as Tesla Chairman, according to Loup Ventures Gene Munster. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Former Vice President Al Gore would have been a good choice to take over as Tesla Chairman, according to Loup Ventures Gene Munster. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment on its search and when it will name a new chairman.

Aside from naming a new chairman, Tesla will also have to appoint two new, independent directors to its board as part of the SEC settlement. Munster reiterated that those aspects of the settlement, which could serve to handcuff Musk from acting sporadically, aren’t necessarily a bad thing.

“This provides an important opportunity,” Munster said. “This is a gift that Tesla essentially has gotten from the SEC. The board didn’t have the strength to do it on their own, their hand has been forced, but this is ultimately for the better of the company.”

Tesla announced Tuesday third-quarter production numbers that topped Wall Street estimates. Musk was surprisingly quiet on Twitter ahead of the announcement — a sign that the CEO may have learned from his now infamous decision to tweet about having “funding secured” to take Tesla private, which ultimately led to him having to step down as chairman of his company.

Zack Guzman is a reporter at Yahoo Finance.