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Analysis: Elon Musk is hurting Tesla with his bizarre behavior

Investors should be focusing on Tesla's growing sales and ambitious plans to reinvent the American automotiv...

Posted: Sep 9, 2018 9:06 PM
Updated: Sep 9, 2018 9:06 PM

Investors should be focusing on Tesla's growing sales and ambitious plans to reinvent the American automotive world.

They should be salivating over its exciting plans for semi trucks for big corporate fleets and its alternative energy initiatives. And they should be reassured by analysts' predictions that Tesla will report a profit in the fourth quarter and a full year of profitability in 2019.

Instead, they are watching CEO Elon Musk smoke a blunt with Joe Rogan.

They're looking at an easy punchline for comedians, a man who's become a walking Page Six item.

They're seeing rapper Azealia Banks' bizarre Instagram posts alleging that she was in Musk's house while he tweeted on acid, reading him tearfully talking to the New York Times about his Ambien use and making baseless accusations about a diver in the Thai cave rescue.

It's an even bigger problem considering the brain drain that's now going on at Tesla. Chief accounting officer Dave Morton is leaving Tesla after just a month on the job, citing concerns about "the level of public attention placed on the company."

And in an email to employees Friday, Musk said chief people officer Gaby Toledano was extending her leave of absence to "spend more time with her family and has decided to continue doing so for personal reasons."

All of this wackiness is taking its toll on Tesla's stock. Shares fell about 6% Friday. They are now down more than 15% this year and are more than 30% below the all-time high they hit last year.

The Musk circus is a problem for Wall Street.

"Musk is not going to be conventional. Breaking the mold is part of his PR strategy," wrote Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster in a blog post Friday.

Munster added that he suspects Tesla's board is trying to put controls in place to limit Musk's outlandish behavior. But he says it's clear Musk has a different plan. And that's a big problem.

"At times, Musk appears to be working against himself," Munster wrote. "At the core, we believe he wants to prove his doubters wrong, but many of his actions strengthen the case against him."

Musk should delete his Twitter account, stop talking about the Thai rescuer and not use pot in a public setting, Munster said.

He may need to do even more than that. To paraphrase George Washington in the hit musical "Hamilton," Tesla is a powder keg about to explode and Musk needs another person to help him lighten the load. Tesla has to hire a chief operating officer.

Yes, Musk may be difficult to work with. But another company he runs, SpaceX, has a highly regarded COO in Gwynne Shotwell.

Shotwell has worked at SpaceX since 2002 and was one of the firm's first employees. She was named president and COO in late 2008. So it's clearly not impossible to get along with Musk for a long period of time in a professional setting.

And you don't hear stories about how Musk is sleeping at SpaceX. He's only doing that at Tesla. Maybe if he had someone like Shotwell to help him out, he'd be able to catch a few more zzzs. Tesla investors would certainly sleep a heck of a lot easier too.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 74328

Reported Deaths: 3041
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15860725
Lake7570275
Elkhart484384
Allen3902163
St. Joseph350081
Hamilton2763104
Vanderburgh196313
Hendricks1887108
Cass17959
Johnson1757118
Porter131639
Clark123347
Tippecanoe121111
Madison97965
LaPorte91130
Howard89065
Kosciusko85212
Bartholomew79347
Marshall78422
Floyd77946
Monroe75630
Delaware73052
Dubois69612
Boone67846
Noble67829
Hancock66038
Vigo65110
Jackson5865
Warrick58130
LaGrange55910
Shelby55327
Grant52630
Dearborn50828
Morgan47634
Clinton4343
Henry38320
Wayne37710
White36910
Montgomery35421
Lawrence34627
Harrison33823
Decatur33732
Putnam2888
Miami2742
Daviess27320
Scott26810
Greene25034
Jasper2432
Franklin24214
DeKalb2324
Gibson2254
Jennings22512
Steuben2103
Ripley2087
Carroll1912
Fayette1897
Perry18612
Starke1787
Orange17124
Posey1710
Wabash1693
Fulton1682
Wells1682
Jefferson1632
Knox1540
Whitley1526
Washington1401
Tipton13810
Spencer1363
Sullivan1261
Huntington1223
Randolph1224
Clay1215
Newton11810
Adams1012
Jay910
Owen901
Pulaski831
Rush804
Fountain742
Brown731
Ohio655
Blackford642
Benton610
Pike530
Switzerland520
Vermillion520
Parke511
Crawford450
Martin450
Union410
Warren221
Unassigned0206

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 100848

Reported Deaths: 3669
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin18317524
Cuyahoga13514499
Hamilton9643255
Lucas5348323
Montgomery436294
Summit3555222
Butler292963
Marion292545
Mahoning2554255
Pickaway238742
Stark1827139
Warren178939
Lorain177078
Columbiana165860
Trumbull1524106
Fairfield138732
Delaware130119
Licking128149
Clark114614
Lake111438
Wood104358
Clermont93311
Medina92335
Miami83938
Tuscarawas78214
Portage75861
Allen74044
Greene69012
Belmont62126
Mercer61213
Richland60412
Erie57527
Ashtabula56946
Geauga55644
Wayne53958
Ross4844
Huron3965
Darke39529
Ottawa38626
Hancock3783
Sandusky37716
Madison37410
Athens3571
Holmes3286
Lawrence2830
Auglaize2546
Union2511
Muskingum2361
Jefferson2292
Scioto2261
Seneca2143
Knox2057
Putnam20517
Preble2032
Washington20322
Shelby1944
Coshocton1936
Champaign1762
Crawford1745
Morrow1702
Hardin16512
Clinton1646
Highland1581
Logan1552
Fulton1481
Wyandot1468
Ashland1443
Defiance1444
Williams1353
Perry1303
Brown1292
Hocking1189
Guernsey1177
Henry1172
Fayette1130
Carroll1115
Monroe9318
Pike760
Jackson740
Van Wert711
Paulding690
Gallia651
Adams612
Meigs400
Vinton312
Harrison261
Morgan260
Noble160
Unassigned00
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