The turmoil at Tesla Inc.
"Tesla stock drops 9% because [Eelon Musk] smoked some pot on a podcast. good lord, when are people gonna drop the stigma", one person said. "It does not seem like forward progress in terms of governance and professionalism of Tesla".
The forty-seven year old billionaire spent two and a half hours on a podcast late Thursday discussing everything from artificial intelligence and its impact on humankind to flame throwers and social media.
Tesla closed on Friday (local time) at US$263.24 a share after the recording of Mr Musk smoking a combined marijuana-tobacco joint on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast was aired online.
"You want some of it?" "You probably can't because of stockholders, right?" "I'd rather be optimistic and wrong than pessimistic and right".
Morton and Toledano, whose departures come shortly after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission opened an inquiry into Musk's aborted privatisation plan, join dozens of senior executives who have left Tesla.
Tesla shares dropped 8% Friday morning following the live web show, and both the company's head of accounting, Dave Morton, and head of human resources, Gaby Toledano, announced that they were leaving the company, according to The Guardian.
After Musk announced on August 7 that he meant to take Tesla private at $420 a share, there was speculation that the figure was chosen because "420" is a code for marijuana in the drug subculture. Marijuana is legal for medical and recreational use in California, where the interview was recorded. That saga ended with a Friday night announcement in late August, in which Musk said Tesla would remain a publicly traded company.More news: Razer Phone Successor Confirmed by Company, Will Integrate PC Services
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While a sip of whiskey and a hit off a joint may be precisely what some executives need after a tough day at the office, Musk's behavior appears to be making things tougher for himself, and for Tesla. In the early days of the industry, it might have been common for people to use their product in a work setting, but those days have mostly passed, he said. Elon Musk has continued to self-inflict PR disasters one after another, and not only that, but there is a disturbing trend of top talent bailing out on the automaker.
It's legal under California law, but federal law still considers it a crime.
Tesla did not immediately respond to NPR's request for comment.
Morton had been on the job for about a month, starting one day before Musk announced on Twitter that he was considering taking the electric vehicle company private. While Musk stopped short of naming a chief operating officer - a position some Tesla investors have called for him to create and fill in light of the CEO's controversial behaviour - he's putting significant responsibility on the plate of a manager who's helped the company pull off a potential production breakthrough with its all-important Model 3 sedan. Tesla's HR chief told Bloomberg News she was quitting.
Elon's consumption of the drug might have gone against Tesla company policy.
Guardado told Bloomberg that she believes she was sacked for being vocal about safety concerns and for her support of the United Auto Workers union.
Tesla said it hasn't fired anyone for supporting the UAW organising efforts.