Elon Musk sees off Tesla investors’ bid to oust him from top role

Angela Jameson
Elon Musk has survived as chairman: Getty

Tesla’s co-founder and chief executive has fought off an attempt by investors to strip him of the role of chairman of the electric car maker.

Elon Musk, who owns more than a fifth of Tesla, is both chairman and chief executive, which is not unusual in the US, unlike in the UK.

However, Tesla said a “supermajority” of shareholders rejected an attempt to force Musk to step down as chairman at the company’s annual meeting.

Directors Antonio Gracias, Fox chief James Murdoch, and Elon’s brother Kimbal Musk were also re-elected to the company’s board.

Musk used the annual shareholder meeting to reassure investors about progress after a difficult few months in which Tesla has fallen out with Wall Street after Musk refused to answer analyst questions he said were “boring”, become the subject of a federal investigation into a fatal fire involving one of its cars in California and missed production targets for its latest model.

Musk choked up as he thanked supporters and investors for buying the product saying “at Tesla we build our cars with love”.

Tesla confirmed that the company would “quite likely” hit its goal of producing 5,000 Model 3 cars in a single week before the end of June.

The company also said that its new “gigafactory” would be built in Shanghai, although a final announcement is still pending. Tesla’s plans come as US-Chinese relations are deteriorating over trade issues and China’s attempts to isolate Taiwan diplomatically.

Musk said he expected the carmaker to post a quarterly profit during the July to September period, something it has rarely achieved in the last 15 years.