Elon Musk Admits Under Oath That He Doesn’t Want To Be CEO Of Any Company He Owns

Elon Musk has said, on the record and under oath, that he is not interested in being a CEO of Twitter, Tesla, or any other company.

By Charlene Badasie | Published

Elon Musk, who recently acquired Twitter for $44 billion, said he doesn’t want to be the CEO of any company. The billionaire made the revelation in a Delaware court while defending his $52 billion compensation package as CEO of Tesla. “I frankly don’t want to be the CEO of any company,” he said via The Verge. But the 51-year-old’s testimony also veered into other topics like how he spends his time and whether he was drunk when he crowned himself the “techno king” of Tesla in 2021.

He also explained why he prefers not to have the CEO title at his various companies. “At SpaceX, I’m really responsible for the engineering of the rockets,” Elon Musk said. At Tesla, the 51-year-old said he works on the technology in the car that makes it successful. “CEO is often viewed as somewhat of a business-focused role. But in reality, my role is more like that of an engineer developing technology and making sure that we have a team of incredible engineers who can achieve those goals.”

Elon Musk also confirmed that his arrangement at Twitter is temporary. “I expect to reduce my time at Twitter and find somebody else to run it over time,” he said. Meanwhile, Tesla shareholder Richard J. Tornetta is suing the billionaire, arguing that the 2018 CEO compensation package was excessive. He added that its authorization by the Tesla board amounted to a breach of its fiduciary duty, CNBC reports. The billionaire was also asked about the 50 Tesla engineers he asked to help with his work at Twitter.

Denying any wrongdoing, Elon Musk said he only asked the Tesla employees to assist him at Twitter voluntarily after hours. He added that no one from the board called him to say otherwise. “I think it lasted for a few days and it was over,” the 51-year-old told the court. When a lawyer for Tornetta asked if he thought it was a good idea to be using Tesla assets elsewhere, the billionaire said there are 120,000 people at the company. “This is de minimis,” he said.

Interestingly, Elon Musk is also considering stepping down as CEO of Tesla, according to former Tesla board member, James Murdoch. He later testified that the billionaire has specifically brought up who he wants to succeed him as CEO of Tesla, but was not asked to name that person. With all his business commitments, the electric car company has taken up most of Musk’s time in recent years. While he still managed to work with SpaceX, his tunneling and brain chip ventures all but stalled.

When attorneys for the plaintiffs asked Elon Musk if his combative attitude towards regulators was a good idea, specifically referring to insults directed at the Securities and Exchange Commission, he questioned their execution. “I think the mission of the SEC is good but the question is whether that mission is being executed well. In some cases I think it is not,” he told the court.

He added that the SEC fails to investigate things they should, and places far too much attention on things that are not relevant. Elon Musk was then quizzed about an insulting tweet he sent in July 2020, in which he wrote, “SEC, three letter acronym, the middle word is Elon’s.” Under oath, he said it stood for “Save Elon’s Company” but was misinterpreted.