Elon Musk Escapes Corporate Coup to Oust Him as Chairman of Tesla

Tesla Motors CEO and chairman of the board of management, Elon Musk, has staved off a managerial coup that sought to displace him from the company’s leadership in light of the company’s recent difficulties.

Musk, who has held both chairman and CEO positions at Tesla since 2004, faced questioning from Tesla shareholder Jing Zhao of Concord, California, who was concerned that Musk’s involvement with SpaceX and SolarCity were impacting his ability to fulfill his duties at Tesla.

Three members were up for reelection at the annual board meeting on Tuesday, according to ABC News, which included Antonio Gracias, James Murdoch, and Elon’s brother Kimbal Musk. All three survived the challenge to their positions, mounted by CtW Investment Group, which alleged that inexperience with the automotive industry served as reason for dismissal.

Tesla and Musk both struggle with regularity to keep Tesla’s image in the press positive. It suffers a variety of problems not common to its competitors in the automotive industry, much of which receives news coverage that Musk sees as disproportionate.

Due to early high-profile crashes involving Tesla’s semi-automated driving assist suite, “Autopilot,” accidents involving Tesla vehicles attract national media coverage due to worries that they too may be attributed to the system. Tesla has noted decreased usage of the feature after such news stories.

The company’s relationship with government entities and media has been unsteady at best, with the NTSB and Tesla procedures for Autopilot crash investigations differing to abrasive extremes, and Musk’s own infamous first-quarter conference call hangup earlier this year. 

In addition, well-documented “production hell” manufacturing difficulties and labor disputes have sullied Tesla’s image with some consumers, and its own business tribulations have received no shortage of scrutiny. Investment in its own technology and facilities demands heaps of cash, and though Tesla says it doesn’t face the refund problem outsiders say it does, the difficulties that Musk and Tesla have with positive media coverage remain evident.

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