It’s time for Tesla to call in a grown-up to keep Elon Musk in check

You can’t. Because that was a trick question. Tesla (TSLA) has no COO. And some financial experts think this is a big problem, especially since there are so many questions about the future of the company.

Tesla may or may not go private. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has forced the Problem on his board because he tweeted, maybe impulsive, that he “secured funding” for a deal.

The share rose to the first, but has since fallen back to the level, it was before the now notorious tweet. But would Musk have written it at all if He had a COO to restrain Him? Maybe not.

Tesla lists only one chief technical officer and chief financial officer, together with musk, as top executives. Musk is also the company’s product architect.

“I look at Tesla I see a genius in Elon Musk. But who is the general?”said Mariann Montagne, senior portfolio manager at Gradient Investments.

With another high-profile leader who respects Wall Street, like Sheryl Sandberg on Facebook (FB), for example, Musk could give the freedom to innovate and take risks. In the meantime, the COO could lead the business of the company, making investors breathe easily.

Another senior leader may now be necessary that Tesla is worth about $ 60 billion more than GM (GM) and Ford (F) and makes Tesla the most valuable American car companies.

“A strong COO for Tesla to would probably be a positive step, since, as CEO Elon Musk’s own words, it is finally a “real car company”,” said Craig Birk, chief investment officer of Personal Capital.

Tesla does not respond to requests for comment on why it does not have a COO.
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What happens when Tesla goes private?

Others also wondered why Musk was not a COO or other prominent Executive to help him.

“Does every company need a COO specifically? Not necessarily. But you must have someone to tell the CEO when they’re confused, ” said John Wilson, head of research and corporate governance at Cornerstone Capital Group.

“Is there any control over the CEO? Musk’s behavior shows that it does not seem to be, ” Wilson added.

The lack of a COO is more about some, as musk is, to put it mildly, a very busy guy.

“Musk has a lot of different irons in the fire,” said Tom Plumb, CEO of Plumb funds, which the other two companies that he operates SpaceX and the Boring company – and to the many other things on his plate.

With a COO, investors can reassure that there is a succession plan in place, if Musk decides to step down to focus more on these other initiatives.

Other successful founders-led enterprises have cultivated deep management benches. Google, now known as the Alphabet, brought in tech veteran Eric Schmidt CEO to be before his IPO, for example. Microsoft, Bill Gates had Steve Ballmer, and then Satya Nadella.

With a trusted COO could also be helpful if musk ever runs into health problems.

Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook was COO for several years under Steve Jobs. This meant that there was a clear succession plan in place after Jobs, who passed away in 2011, could no longer act as CEO.

What’s more, Jobs was CEO of animated Studio Pixar until it was purchased by Disney (DIS), while also being CEO of Apple. If Jobs don’t have cooking at his side, Wall Street might have been more concerned about a lead at Apple invalid.

So as TESLA-investors now fear that musk could spread too thin and that no one could otherwise run the company.

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It's time for Tesla to call in a grown-up to keep Elon Musk in check
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