Elon Musk says he wants more power over Tesla - but not so much that he can't be fired if he goes 'bonkers'

elon musk
Elon Musk.Jae C. Hong/AP
  • Elon Musk wants more voting power over Tesla so it's tougher to remove him as CEO.

  • The tech billionaire says about 25% is fine so that if he goes "bonkers" or "mad" he can be ousted.

  • Musk says the pace of interest-rate cuts will affect Tesla's gross margins on its cars this year.

Elon Musk wants more power over Tesla so it's harder to kick him out, but not so much control that he can't be removed as CEO if he loses his mind.

The world's richest man recently sparked uproar by threatening to build AI and robotics products outside of Tesla unless his voting control is raised from about 13% to 25%. He laid out his thinking during Tesla's fourth-quarter earnings call on Wednesday.


"I see a path to creating an artificial intelligence and robotics juggernaut of truly immense capability and power," Musk said, according to a transcript provided by AlphaSense. The tech billionaire said that realizing that potential could lead to him being "voted out by some sort of random shareholder advisory firm" unless he gains more influence over Tesla.

"There's a lot of activists that infiltrate those organizations and have strange ideas about what should be done," he said. Musk noted that a dual-class share structure, used by the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and Warren Buffett to give them voting rights that exceed their financial stakes in their companies, would be "ideal."

"The reason I just sort of roughly picked approximately 25% was that that's not so much that I can control the company even if I go bonkers," Musk said. "And if I'm, like, mad, then they can throw me out. But it's enough that I have a strong influence."

Musk tackled other topics on the call, including how the Federal Reserve's expected cuts to interest rates this year will affect Tesla's gross margins on its vehicles.

"It's always important to remember that for the vast majority of people, buying a car is about the monthly payment," he said. "As interest rates drop and that monthly payment drops, then they are able to afford it and they buy the car."

"If the interest rates come down quickly, I think margins will be good," he said. "And if they don't come down quickly, they won't be that good."

Musk made other colorful comments, such as comparing Tesla's Optimus lab to the set of the HBO show Westworld. He also warned Chinese automakers are fierce competitors that will "pretty much demolish most other car companies in the world" unless trade barriers are erected.

Read the original article on Business Insider