Elon Musk resigns, pays $20m fine in settlement with SEC

Musk and the SEC reached a settlement over the weekend that forces the founder to cough up $20m in fines and resign as the executive chairman of Tesla for the next 3 years.


October 1, 2018

On Saturday, Tesla chief exec Elon Musk agreed to resign as chairman of the electric-vehicle giant he founded.

The SEC sued Musk on Thursday for misleading investors after falsely tweeting that he had secured funding to take the company private — also known in the securities biz as fraud.

As Elon himself put it, the past year has ‘not been great, actually’

This is only the midpoint of his Musk-sational 2018 narrative.

In the past year, he’s launched a flamethrower pop-up shop, sulked on an earnings call, had a high-profile fling with an electronic musician, called a hero a “pedo,” and admitted he doesn’t leave the office for days at a time — yet somehow carved out time to smoke a fatty on Joe Rogan’s podcast.

That’s all on top of Tesla’s hard-to-watch 2-year struggle to meet production goals on their new Model 3 (though, they did meet their Q3 goal).

Roasted, flamethrower style

According to The Washington Post, the SEC had offered similar settlement terms a week prior to the lawsuit that Musk passionately declined, saying the “unjustified action” left him “deeply saddened and disappointed.” 

But, like any responsible parent, the SEC doesn’t give a sh*t if Elon likes them or not. 

So they sued him, dropping the company’s stock by 14% (that’s more than $7B in shareholder value) — Musk himself reportedly lost $1.6B in a single day.

Bluff called, Musk settled and agreed to resign for at least 3 years and will pay a collective $40m fine between himself and Tesla.

This may have been the best thing for Tesla

Yes, Musk is a highly intelligent and influential individual, but it’s clear the guy needs a nap. This SEC run-in may prove the white knight to a Tesla in distress, shackled to the whims of a stretched-too-thin executive.

Now, the company has to hire a chairman to replace Musk (something corporate governance experts have suggested for years), along with 2 new independent directors.

In addition, Grimes’ ex will be on a short leash: Tesla now gets to monitor the communications of the outspoken ex-chief gunslinger.

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