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Gene Munster: 3 Ways Elon Musk Is Hurting Tesla

Wayne Duggan

It’s not just Tesla, Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) bears that are paying attention to CEO Elon Musk’s questionable behavior in 2018. Loup Ventures analyst and Tesla bull Gene Munster has become increasingly impatient with Musk’s missteps and is now calling for his removal as Tesla’s chairman of the board.

Call To Action

This week, Munster said Musk’s erratic behavior could spell the end of Tesla as a company if the board doesn’t take action to protect the company from him. 

“The easiest, most immediate action would be for Musk to resign as chairman of the board and have one of the non-independent directors resign from the board to bring on a new board member as chairperson,” Munster said in a blog post. 

He said Musk’s aura in 2018 has been “part jerk, part bully and part liar,” and his attitude is hurting Tesla in three critical ways:

  • At least 13 key executives have left the company, presumably because of how difficult it is to work with Musk.
  • Executive-level talent is likely growing wary of joining Tesla at this point either by exposure to Musk’s personality during the interview process or via the negative publicity he's generating. 
  • Musk’s reputation as a “bad-ass billionaire” has taken a hit thanks to how he has been acting, and Tesla’s reputation and brand are closely tied to Musk’s.

Patience Wearing Thin

Munster is a longtime Tesla supporter, but his criticism of Musk has been increasingly harsh in the last several weeks. In an open letter to Musk on July 17, Munster called on the CEO to change his unhelpful behavior, including taking a Twitter sabbatical and ignoring criticism from short sellers.

After Musk drank whiskey and smoked marijuana on Joe Rogan’s podcast last week, Munster said Musk’s actions are “making it harder and harder to support Tesla as a company.”

This week is the first time Munster has suggested Musk be removed from his role as chairman.

Tesla investors are likely growing impatient with Musk as well. Tesla stock is now down 20.4 percent overall in the past year.

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Photo by Heisenberg Media via Wikimedia. 

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Date Firm Action From To
Sep 2018 Nomura Downgrades Buy Neutral
Sep 2018 Goldman Sachs Reinstates Sell
Aug 2018 Canaccord Genuity Maintains Hold Hold

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