Recap on Elon Musk and Tesla

For those of you following the bouncing Elon, here’s a brief summary of his activities:

1. Tesla met its production goals of 5,000 S3 vehicles per week in June by adding a third production line in a tent, but has not met the 5,000 production goal since.
2. On August 7, 2018, Musk tweeted (always a good way to announce a stock-purchase plan) that he had secured funding for taking Tesla private at $420 share. The Twitter/weed subculture noted that 420 is code for marijuana.
3. The SEC announced an investigation because, well, those kinds of announcements about going private can affect markets.
4. Once the Tesla board got involved, Musk decided in mid-August there were too many problems with going public.
5. The SEC is still investigating.
6. Tesla’s chief accounting officer then resigns — suddenly, last week. He had just had his first day on August 6 and noted that “the Tesla culture proved to be a bad fit.” This kind of activity also tends to move markets.
7. Elon Musk showed up on a podcast with comedian Joe Rogan, drinking whiskey, and then smoking pot. With each assuring the other that smoking pot was “legal.”
8. Not announced yet — the Air Force will need to catch up on the marijuana — it may be legal in some states, but for security clearance, necessary for the work SpaceX does for the federal government, Mr. Musk needs to be drug-free, including marijuana. There is a notice on the security clearance form that reminds applicants for clearance that legality in the states makes absolutely no difference to the federal government. Marijuana is a no-no for federal contractors.

Erratic behavior, defiance, and a company sinking. Classic entrepreneur with a big vision who cannot do nuts-and-bolts of the day-to-day drudgery of running a business within legal and ethical boundaries. The pattern is always the same. Think Uber, American Apparel, and a host of Silicon Valley firms grappling with visionary CEOs who buck the system to develop their products and then continue bucking the system as they try to operate a business — unless they are reined in. That’s a board job, but the vision of strong directors who take charge is still missing and inaction has its effects. Tesla’s stock is down to $260 per share. The SEC has its case made.

About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD. The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards. Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader's Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio. She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News. In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles. Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.
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