Business

Tesla exec exits, CEO Musk smokes pot on webcast

Chief accounting, HR officers cite public attention

Screenshot/YouTube

Elon Musk, chairman and CEO of Tesla, inhales what comedian Joe Rogan said was a blend of tobacco and marijuana and legal in California, on a live YouTube webcast Thursday night.
Screenshot/YouTube Elon Musk, chairman and CEO of Tesla, inhales what comedian Joe Rogan said was a blend of tobacco and marijuana and legal in California, on a live YouTube webcast Thursday night.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk was filmed smoking marijuana, drinking whiskey and wielding a sword just hours before the automaker said its accounting chief would leave after a one-month stint, the latest in a string of unusual behavior and executive departures that have stunned investors.

Shares of the electric carmaker tumbled as much as 10 percent on Friday, with investors on edge after a tumultuous August during which Musk proposed and then abruptly pulled the plug on a go-private deal.

Chief Accounting Officer Dave Morton resigned because of discomfort with the attention on the company and pace of work during that time, Tesla said in a filing on Friday.

Morton, whose departure comes after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission opened an inquiry into Musk’s aborted plan, joins a list of executives who have left Tesla recently.

Bloomberg reported on Friday that Chief People Officer Gaby Toledano would not return from a leave of absence just over a year after joining.

“Since I joined Tesla on August 6th, the level of public attention placed on the company, as well as the pace within the company, have exceeded my expectations. As a result, this caused me to reconsider my future,” Morton said in the filing.

Late on Thursday, Musk was filmed drinking whiskey, briefly smoking marijuana and wielding a Samurai sword during a two-and-a-half-hour live Web show with comedian Joe Rogan that swiftly spread across Instagram and other social media.

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Even before Musk’s surprise Aug. 7 tweet that he had funding “secured” for a go-private deal, Tesla had been under scrutiny from investors, analysts and short-sellers as it works to hit production targets and slow its cash burn.

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