Elon Musk is not your typical CEO. Now he has a new title to prove it.
In a filing with his least favorite regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission, on Monday, Tesla disclosed that Musk is adding the title of “Technoking of Tesla.” It also said that Chief Financial Officer Zach Kirkhorn had taken on the title of “Master of Coin.”
Each executive will keep his more standard title as well.
Musk once had the title of chairman of Tesla, but he was stripped of that title in 2018 in a settlement with the SEC over deceptive tweets he sent out. He had said that “funding secured” to take Tesla private at $420 a share, when, in fact, he had only had discussions, not a firm agreement, on such funding with a Saudi sovereign wealth fund.
The SEC originally sought to strip him of his CEO title, but settled for having him pay a $20 million fine and give up the chairman title instead, a position now held by Robyn Denholm.
The bizarre title changes overshadowed a separate filing, which disclosed that Jerome Guillen, who has been president of Tesla’s automotive division, “transitioned” last week to president of Tesla heavy truck.
Tesla has been working on an electric semi-tractor truck. But it is severely delayed: Tesla originally promised it would be available in 2019. In January, Musk told investors it “would not make sense” to build the truck right now, because it would require five times as many batteries as a Tesla car — but it would not sell for five times as much money. The batteries are a significant part of the cost of an electric vehicle.
While Guillen had the title of president of Tesla automotive, it was clear that Musk was the one overseeing the company’s automotive operations, in addition to his role as chairman, CEO and chief technology officer of rocket company SpaceX.
From the start, Musk has run Tesla as a disruptive force trying to change the entire auto industry and shift the world to using electric rather than traditional internal combustion engine vehicles. Among his most recent disruptive moves was the disclosure that Telsa has purchased volatile digital currency bitcoin with $1.5 billion of its cash on hand.
Investors have embraced him, driving up the value of Tesla shares to one of the most valuable US companies of any kind, and far more valuable than any other automaker.
But shares have been on something of a rollercoaster recently. They closed Friday down 21% from their record high close in late January, placing it in bear market territory, although they were up 23% from where they closed on Monday of last week.