Elon Musk says his days are ‘lengthy and sophisticated’ splitting time between SpaceX, Tesla and Twitter

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, speaks with CNBC on May 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. While he not too long ago introduced a successor for that position, the job is at the moment 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 Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit.

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

Musk mentioned he typically tries to divide his schedule “so it is predominantly one firm on in the future.”

But that is not at all times doable. This Tuesday was “a Tesla day,” he mentioned, however he “may find yourself at Twitter late tonight, and then tomorrow could be partly a Tesla day as effectively, half Twitter and then Thursday could be type of a half-SpaceX, half-Tesla day.”

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

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 deal with the electrical automotive maker even because the market was getting extra aggressive. Meanwhile, advertisers fled or briefly 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.

While different executives might outsource their calendar to a chief of workers or government 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’s inconceivable for another person to know what the priorities are,” Musk mentioned, including that he’s normally working most hours of the day, wrapping up at 2 a.m., his typical bedtime.

At Twitter, Musk now plans to shift into the position of government chairman and know-how chief, with former NBC advert government Linda Yaccarino slated to become CEO.

However, Twitter is primarily a know-how firm, so his ongoing job as CTO will probably be demanding.

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

“Succession is without doubt one of the hardest, age-old issues,” Musk mentioned. “It’s plagued nations, kings, prime ministers and presidents, and CEOs because the daybreak of historical past.”

Musk mentioned he is advised 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 sneakers.

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 corporations ceaselessly have interaction in related party transactions, and he is confronted political pressure to extra cleanly separate them.

After Musk took over Twitter, for instance, he authorized dozens of staff from Tesla, SpaceX and the Boring Co. to assist him on the social media enterprise. The “transition group” he established at Twitter was concerned in every little thing from code assessment 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. Financial filings from 2017 for OpenAI reveal that Musk donated round $250,000 value of Tesla automobiles as a part of his tens of millions of {dollars} value of donations to OpenAI again in its earlier days.

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

“I do not wish to leap the gun right here on bulletins,” Musk mentioned. “But OpenAI has a relationship with Microsoft that appears to work pretty effectively, and it is doable that X.ai and Twitter and Tesla would have one thing related.”

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