Elon Musk enjoys and cultivates celebrity status as CEO of Tesla (TSLA) – Get a report on Tesla Inc.
He is the rare CEO since Apple (AAPL) – Get an Apple Inc. report Steve Jobs getting a standing ovation at his company’s annual meeting.
Fans of the CEO flocked to the annual meeting on August 4 to show their appreciation for Musk’s role in the development of electric vehicles.
But Musk is being pulled in many directions. In addition to Tesla, he runs SpaceX, Boring Co. and Neuralink. In addition, he is now embroiled in a legal battle over his attempt to buy Twitter (TWTR) – Get a report on Twitter Inc. Musk pulled out of the deal last month, claiming the company had not provided accurate data on the number of spam accounts on the online microblogging service.
There is currently a major legal battle between Musk and Twitter with lawsuits flying.
With all that in mind, Musk got an interesting question from a shareholder.
A shareholder was concerned about Musk’s “key man” role and succession plans at the electric vehicle maker.
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Musk told shareholders that “I intend to stay at Tesla for as long as I can be useful.” He added that “I think I can be most helpful in designing and manufacturing the product. So basically factory design, product design and sort of production optimization.”
However, he said, “Tesla is definitely gaining a lot of momentum and has a very exciting product roadmap that will continue for a long time.”
He added, jokingly suggesting that “we have a very talented team here, so I think Tesla will continue to do very well even if I get abducted by aliens or go back to my home planet.”
He added that “I’m definitely working as hard as I can and I’m very excited about the future of the company. I think he has a very bright future even without me.” But “I’m not leaving, just to be clear.”
Musk doesn’t seem to have completely given up on the Twitter acquisition, or at least his interest in the company. “I have to be a little careful about what I say on Twitter because there’s like, you know, a lawsuit and stuff.”
He noted that “the only two publicly traded securities I own are Tesla and Twitter. That’s it.”
“I think in the case of Twitter, because I use it a lot, shoot myself in the foot a lot, dig my own grave, etc., I understand the product pretty well. So I think I have a good idea of where to direct the engineering team at Twitter to make it radically better.”
Whether he really wants to, or will be forced to try, remains the $44 billion question.