Shares of Tesla (TSLA) plummeted more than 7% after reports that the U.S. Justice Department requested documents related to CEO Elon Musk’s tweet about taking the company private. On Monday, Vernon Unsworth filed a lawsuit for libel and slander after Musk accused the British cave rescuer of being a “pedo man.”
While investors are concerned about Elon’s behavior, his younger brother, first business partner and perhaps closest ally, Kimbal Musk, is remaining steadfast in his support.
Restaurateur Kimbal, who is also a Tesla board member, said it’s all hands on deck at the company in an interview for Yahoo Finance’s Breakout Breakfast series Monday morning.
“I trust my brother’s vision. I’m biased but I think he’s the greatest entrepreneur of our day. Right now what we’re focused on is deliveries. I know the news likes to talk about other things, but we have a lot of cars to deliver,” he said.
Kimbal rightfully points out that recent “news” has been laser-focused on Elon’s behavior — and not Tesla’s inventory problem. The company, which has a backlog of 420,000 Model 3s, has also promised shareholders profitability by third or fourth quarter. Kimbal said he’s trying to do his part by helping with the delivery process.
On Tuesday afternoon, Kimbal made his way to a Tesla delivery hub in Red Hook, Brooklyn to help the team deliver Model 3s. He said he’s even personally driving one to a happy customer. Kimbal also plans to deliver cars in Denver when he returns home later this week.
“We have a lot of cars to deliver. It’s a very exciting time for the company and a lot of the stuff gets caught up in the noise out there, but as an entrepreneur, you have to always remember to focus on what the critical issue is at hand. And if you get caught up in the noise you stop focusing on the business,” he said.
When asked about serving on Tesla’s board of directors, Musk said he “can’t talk and represent the company,” but he took the opportunity to plug the Model 3 once again.
In an interview with The New York Times last month, Kimbal praised his brother’s authentic leadership style.
“The reason Elon seems to attract drama is that he is so transparent, so open, in a way that can come back to bite him,” Kimbal told the New York Times. “He doesn’t know how to do it differently. It’s just who he is.”
Kimbal’s strong allegiance to Elon has sparked criticism about the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of the board in representing shareholders.
“The Tesla board has done incredible work overseeing the largest value creation in the auto industry in 100-plus years, despite many setbacks. Tesla owes its very existence to this board!” Musk tweeted after a Forbes article accusing the board of directors of being submissive enablers was published.
Melody Hahm is a senior writer at Yahoo Finance, covering entrepreneurship, technology and real estate. Follow her on Twitter @melodyhahm.
There’s an uptick in housing inventory, but don’t expect price relief
Highly unusual investment: Own part of this world-class bar
Men and women aren’t that different: investing app Stash
RVs and recliners are back thanks to millennials
Anaheim wants to be the Disneyland of beer