Lukanyo Mnyanda Editor: Business Day

What is the cost when the charismatic leader of a multibillion-dollar company goes rogue? For Tesla, the carmaker started by SA-born entrepreneur Elon Musk, it was a hefty $7bn. That was the amount of value lost as the shares plunged about 13% on Friday, after the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) announcement the day before that it sought to remove him from the helm of the carmaker. From the bizarre Twitter war with the diver who helped rescue 12 children trapped in a cave in Thailand to smoking marijuana on a live web show, Musk’s behaviour in recent months has been — if one wants to be charitable — not exactly conventional. Others have described it as erratic and damaging to his personal brand and Tesla, which in recent months has also been rocked by the departure of a number of executives, with at least one citing unwelcome publicity and attention as a reason for jumping ship. Most investors who bought into the Musk legend knew they weren’t getting conventional with ...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now