Published: Sun, September 09, 2018
Money | By Arnold Ball

Yet again, Tesla shares burned by barrage of awkward headlines

Yet again, Tesla shares burned by barrage of awkward headlines

But that's not it.

Granted, this isn't the only factor that played into Tesla's poor stocks today; Friday morning, the company announced a couple of C-suite executive resignations, as well as the Tuesday resignation of the company's chief accounting officer, Dave Morton, after only a one-month stint at the company. His past jokes about tweeting after taking Ambien and drinking wine didn't seem so amusing anymore, and he defended his use of the prescription sleep aid in a New York Times interview.

After Musk announced August 7 that he meant to take Tesla private at $420 a share, there was speculation that the billionaire was referring to marijuana when he tweeted because "420" is a coded reference for marijuana. I've been around people smoking pot since I was a teenager and I think it is a lot like alcohol.

Morton, who joined the company just one month ago, said he was leaving because "the level of public attention placed on the company, as well as the pace within the company, have exceeded my expectations". Its chief accounting officer suddenly resigned - after a month on the job - and Musk, its chief executive, appeared on a late-night webcast taking a deep drag on what his interviewer said was a marijuana cigarette.

Shockingly this was nearly a complete blindside to the board of directors at Tesla and just two weeks after that tweet Musk recanted and did his best to explain why he had claimed he had funding "secured".

Then, like a nervous teen trying to fit in with the cool kids in an outdated after school special, Musk exhaled before the weed smoke could touch his lungs, employing President Bill Clinton's famed anti-inhalation method. The San Francisco office of the SEC has sent subpoenas to Tesla regarding its privatization plans to determine whether Musk intentionally misled investors.

Musk told The Guardian in response to a question about whether Tesla drug-tests employees that "our policy allows trace amounts of THC [an ingredient of cannabis] during work times, provided they are below the safety limit (much like a minimum alcohol level)".

Even in the cannabis industry, smoking weed as a CEO or top executive in a non-recreational setting is seen as unprofessional, Chris Walsh, founder and vice president of the publication Marijuana Business Daily, said in an interview.

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Kevin Kassekert and Felicia Mayo will lead the human-resources department, following the departure of former HR chief Gaby Toledano, who had been on leave since August.

Almost a dozen top executives have left Tesla this year. The San Francisco office of the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating not only Musk's unusual tweet about having "funding secured" to take the vehicle company private, but broader issues surrounding company disclosures about production goals with its latest offering, the Model 3.

"It's quite hard to run companies".

In a filing earlier Friday, the company said the functions and personnel Morton had been leading would be overseen by Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja and its corporate controller.

"We move carbon from the ground to the atmosphere (and from there into the oceans) is an incredibly risky experiment whose ultimate outcome is unknown", the Tesla chief told Rogan. Since the start of the year, 41 executives have left, according to CNBC.

But a large portion of that gravitational potential energy could be recaptured and harvested on the descent, Musk said.

But he doesn't plan to pursue the idea anytime soon, as he is too occupied with Tesla, SpaceX and other projects.

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