Elon Musk isn't out at Tesla, despite what you've heard

I was hoping to have some better news about Elon Musk by now but it wasn’t meant to be. Still, it’s not quite as bad as it’s being portrayed on social media among Musk’s most vocal critics. I was working on another project when my social media exploded with exclamations that Tesla and SpaceX founder (among other operations) Elon Musk was out at Tesla and the SEC was hitting him with punishing fines. This all stems back to his ill-advised tweets about taking the company private at a specific price and claiming that he had funding in place for it.

Both of those claims are partially true, but not entirely. Musk is not giving up Tesla nor being driven from its leadership. But he is stepping down as Chairman, leaving the fate of the company’s stock dealings in other hands. It’s also true that he’s being tagged with some serious fines which would bankrupt most people – to the tune of 20 million dollars – but let’s be honest here. Twenty million probably doesn’t cover his jet fuel costs and bar tab for the year. Still, the Securities and Exchange Commission found sufficient reason to smack him down. (NBC News)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk would step down as the company’s chairman and be replaced by an independent chairman under a proposed settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the agency announced Saturday.

“Musk and Tesla have agreed to settle the charges against them without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations,” the commission said in a statement. Musk will remain as Tesla’s CEO under the deal, CNBC reported.

The proposed settlement agreement, which includes other stipulations, is subject to court approval. The SEC sued Musk on Thursday alleging that the billionaire tech entrepreneur misled the market when he tweeted last month that he had “funding secured” to take the electric car maker private.

Still being CEO means that Musk will continue to chart the course of the company. As to the stock situation, he didn’t exactly control the board before this anyway, despite being the Chairman. (As of June of this year, Musk owns just shy of 20% of the stock, still well short of a majority.)

This obviously isn’t good news for Musk, but it’s hardly the end of the world. He’ll still control the destiny of Tesla and none of this has anything to do with SpaceX, Boring Company or his other far-flung interests. And who knows? Perhaps this will be the wake-up call that Elon Musk needs to let him know that he’s been burning the candle at both ends for a long time now and he needs to exercise caution so he doesn’t burn out entirely.

That’s something I was dwelling on when I asked what the heck was going on at the last SpaceX HQ announcement where he named the first commercial space traveler scheduled to circle the moon. The point is that it’s fine to be concerned about Elon Musk’s current state of mind and the fact that the guy probably only sleeps 25 hours a week at most. He’s a visionary and someone who is driven by whatever internal engine moves such people to perform at that level.

Still, this was one more excuse for Musk’s many detractors on social media to have a field day. I’m not sure precisely when it happened, but at some point, Musk became too successful, too rich and too powerful for many in society to tolerate. At that point, it became “cool” to hate Elon Musk and project every sort of conspiracy theory or rich megalomaniac stereotype imaginable upon him. And if that describes you, enjoy yourselves. It’s still a free country and you can air whatever opinions you like.

As for me, as risky as it is to put yourself in such a position, I remain a true believer. Musk will pull through and eventually help take mankind to the stars. He’s one of those once in a generation type people and we probably need him now more than ever. As I said before and will no doubt say again… I believe in Elon Musk. You should too.

I’ll close once again with my favorite quote from the man when he tried to explain to his critics why he launched Starman out into the solar system on Falcon Heavy instead of just sending a concrete block as a payload like everyone else.

Life cannot just be about solving one sad problem after another. There need to be things that inspire you, that make you glad to wake up in the morning and be part of humanity. That is why we did it. We did it for you.”