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Elon Musk splits time across SpaceX, Tesla and Twitter

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, speaks with CNBC on Might sixteenth, 2023.

David A. Grogan | CNBC

Elon Musk added to his work portfolio late final yr, when he acquired Twitter for $44 billion and appointed himself CEO. Whereas he not too long ago introduced a successor for that function, the job is presently nonetheless his, and he stays the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX.

He talked about attempting to handle his schedule in an interview on Tuesday on the The Wall Avenue Journal’s CEO Council Summit.

“My days are very lengthy and complex as you may think,” Musk mentioned. “And there is a substantial amount of context switching,” he mentioned, emphasizing that “switching context is is kind of painful.”

Musk mentioned he usually tries to divide his schedule “so it is predominantly one firm on sooner or later.”

However that is not at all times potential. This Tuesday was “a Tesla day,” he mentioned, however he “would possibly find yourself at Twitter late tonight, after which tomorrow can be partly a Tesla day as nicely, half Twitter after which Thursday can be kind of a half-SpaceX, half-Tesla day.”

He described his jobs as “considerably intertwined,” and mentioned “the time administration is extraordinarily troublesome.”

The complexity hasn’t been good for his investments. Tesla shares misplaced greater than half their worth within the two months after the Twitter deal closed final yr, on concern that Musk would have much less time to concentrate on the electrical automobile maker even because the market was getting extra aggressive. In the meantime, advertisers fled or quickly suspended their campaigns on Twitter, and in March Musk marked down the worth of the corporate to $20 billion. Musk mentioned on Tuesday that many advertisers are coming again.

Whereas different executives could outsource their calendar to a chief of workers or govt assistant, Musk mentioned he does most of his scheduling on his personal. He mentioned he has “one part-time assistant” to assist him handle his work schedule, a proven fact that was corroborated by a former Tesla worker.

“It is unimaginable for another person to know what the priorities are,” Musk mentioned, including that he’s often working most hours of the day, wrapping up at 2 a.m., his typical bedtime.

At Twitter, Musk now plans to shift into the function of govt chairman and expertise chief, with former NBC advert govt Linda Yaccarino slated to grow to be CEO.

Nonetheless, Twitter is primarily a expertise firm, so his ongoing job as CTO will seemingly be demanding.

Thorold Barker, The Wall Avenue Journal’s editor for Europe, Center East and Africa, requested Musk if he has a succession plan in place at his companies.

“Succession is among the hardest, age-old issues,” Musk mentioned. “It is plagued nations, kings, prime ministers and presidents, and CEOs for the reason that daybreak of historical past.”

Musk mentioned he is instructed his boards, “in all instances,” who’s his option to take over in a “worst-case state of affairs.” He emphasised the businesses’ boards might additionally go in one other course so far as who ought to step into his footwear.

At Tesla, there’s been hypothesis that finance chief Zachary Kirkhorn is amongst candidates who Musk would endorse as a successor.

As CNBC beforehand reported, Musk’s firms often interact in associated get together transactions, and he is confronted political strain to extra cleanly separate them.

After Musk took over Twitter, for instance, he approved dozens of workers from Tesla, SpaceX and the Boring Co. to assist him on the social media enterprise. The “transition staff” he established at Twitter was concerned in all the things from code evaluate to personnel and facilities-related selections.

Musk was additionally a co-founding director and donor to OpenAI, a former non-profit that is now backed by Microsoft. Monetary filings from 2017 for OpenAI reveal that Musk donated round $250,000 value of Tesla autos as a part of his thousands and thousands of {dollars} value of donations to OpenAI again in its earlier days.

Of late, Musk has been brazenly attacking OpenAI’s company construction and the quantity of possession it is offered to Microsoft. On Tuesday, Musk talked some about, a competitor he desires to develop so as to problem OpenAI, and Google’s DeepMind.

“I do not wish to bounce the gun right here on bulletins,” Musk mentioned. “However OpenAI has a relationship with Microsoft that appears to work pretty nicely, and it is potential that and Twitter and Tesla would have one thing comparable.”

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