What's worth $45 billion and needs to hire a proven public adult to make its founder and CEO not behave like an adolescent?
Wanted: A seasoned executive with a steady hand, a passion for electric cars and the mettle to rein in a CEO with itchy Twitter fingers.
That’s pretty much the job posting Tesla Inc. agreed to as part of the settlement nine days ago with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which requires the company to appoint an independent chairman to replace Elon Musk and add two directors to the board. Names being floated as candidates for the chairmanship have ranged from former Vice President Al Gore to one-time CEOs including Jim McNerney of Boeing Co. and Alan Mulally of Ford Motor Co.
Let's just get the obvious joke out of the way here and say that Al Gore is the obvious choice as he has the most sterling track record of keeping charismatic and powerful men he works with from doing anything that might ruin everything.
And let's also just step back and look at how batshit this thing is from literally any perspective. A bunch of serious older men are supposed to be attracted to a gig that consists of keeping a 47-year-old billionaire from lighting himself on fire by behaving like...himself...and then hope that their mere presence can create massive shareholder value for a car company that is actually a cult that occasionally makes cars?
What shareholders want, of course, is someone who can put Tesla on the path to profitability and also manage Musk, whose tweets about having secured the funding and investor support to take the company private was what got him into hot water with the SEC -- and who, not incidentally, was busy on Twitter last week taunting the agency. The Sept. 29 settlement will keep him out of the top board seat for three years.
Yup, okay. That's the gig. Coolcoolcool.
So who is Tesla really going to get for this legally necessary position as "Elon Musk's Work Daddy?" This is an absurdly undefined role inside a corporate culture built around personality worship of the one person that happens to be the person that this role is created to clash with[...and also a job that is the inevitable future plot of some very niche porn]. What kind of total maniac would be so madly in need of a shot at one more big career win that they would put their reputation on the line here? What kind of needy corporate daddy has time on his hands and the kind of pull on Wall Street that investors would even believe Elon can be contained? What person that fits the criteria of this terrible job is truly broken enough to be attracted by it? Seriously, what kind of famous businessman is so in need of his own redemptive narrative that he would agree to wrestle daily with a seemingly unhinged billionaire who is so clearly affected by public criticism that he uses his Twitter account to convey every possible symptom of his increasingly apparent personality disorder?
Holy shit, you guys...Gary Cohn is going to the chairman of Tesla.