Elon Musk enjoys and cultivates celebrity status as Tesla CEO (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc. Report.
He’s the rare CEO since Apple’s (AAPL) – Get Apple Inc. Report Steve Jobs receives a standing ovation at his company’s annual meeting.
Fanboys of the director fell over themselves at the August 4 annual meeting to show their appreciation for Musk’s role in developing electric vehicles.
But Musk is being pulled in many directions. In addition to Tesla, he runs SpaceX, Boring Co. and Neurolink. In addition, he is now embroiled in a legal battle over his bid to buy Twitter (TWTR) – Get a Twitter Inc. Report. Musk pulled out of the deal last month, claiming the company failed to provide accurate data on the number of spam accounts on the online microblogging service.
There is now a major legal battle going on between Musk and Twitter, with the lawsuits moving at lightning speed.
Given all that, 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 manufacturer.
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Musk told shareholders that “I intend to stay with Tesla as long as I can be useful.” He added: “I think I can be most helpful in product design and manufacturing. So basically factory design, product design and some kind of production optimization.”
Nevertheless, he said, “Tesla is definitely getting a lot of momentum and it has a very exciting product roadmap that will last a long time.”
He added jokingly that “we have a very talented team here, so I think Tesla would continue to do very well even if I was abducted by aliens or returned to my home planet.”
He added: “I am definitely working as hard as I can and I am very excited about the future of the company. I think it has a very bright future even without me.” But “I’m not leaving, just to be clear.”
Musk didn’t seem to have completely given up on taking over Twitter, or at least his interest in the company. “I have to be a little bit careful about what I say about Twitter because there’s something like this, you know, a lawsuit and stuff.”
He further noted that “the only two publicly traded securities I own are Tesla and Twitter. That’s all.”
“I think in the case of Twitter, because I use it a lot, shoot myself in the foot a lot, dig my grave etc., I understand the product pretty well. So I think I have a good idea where to get the technical team pointing to Twitter to make it radically better.”
Whether he really wants to or will have to try, remains the $44 billion question.