The annual Tesla shareholders meeting was held in Austin on Tuesday, the event which is now called the Cyber Roundup.
On the agenda were five proposals, one of which urged Tesla’s board to develop a public succession plan for CEO Elon Musk and other “key persons” whose behavior and loss could pose a risk to the company and shareholders.
While Tesla will release the official vote totals later this week, the board advised shareholders to vote against the key person risk proposal, so it is unlikely to pass.
“At a time when Tesla’s technological leadership should be on display, the investment community largely sees us as adrift, with management focused on all matters not-Tesla, watching as Tesla’s brand favorability dropped by 15 points last year, something that costs us margins,” said Karen Robertsdottir, a shareholder in Reykjavik, Iceland, during the event.
“When people look at this company…they see the company as a synonym for its CEO, and the discussion turns to everything except for where it should be focused.”
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Without stating it explicitly, Robertsdottir nodded in response to concerns many investors have had with regard to Musk’s controversial online presence, as well as his supposed distraction away from Tesla since he purchased and took over Twitter. Also, Musk has been criticized for repeatedly selling shares of Tesla to fund the Twitter buyout.
Tesla shares closed at $228.52 when Musk officially purchased Twitter in late October. They closed at $166.52 on Tuesday.
Musk stated on Tuesday that he has no plans to step down as Tesla’s CEO.
“I think Tesla’s going to play an important role in AI and AGI and I think I need to oversee that to make sure it’s good,” he said.
AGI stands for “artificial general intelligence,” which is the idea that an AI can learn to perform any intellectual task that humans or animals can.
Tesla shares remained relatively flat following the meeting, rising only about 1% in after-hours trading. Investors’ lackluster reaction could be attributed to the majority of the meeting simply rehashing highlights from the previous year rather than sharing much new information.
However, Musk did provide updates on the Cybertruck and Roadster, teased two new electric vehicles, stated that Tesla may change its advertising strategy, and shared his macroeconomic expectations for the coming year. JB Straubel was also named to Tesla’s board of directors.
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JB Straubel is back at Tesla as a board member
Tesla shareholders elected JB Straubel to the board of directors as an independent director. The return of the former Tesla CTO and co-founder was applauded by attendees at the shareholder event. Straubel is also the founder and CEO of Redwood Materials, a battery recycling startup.
Shareholders also chose three directors for three-year terms. Musk, Straubel, and current chair Robyn Denholm were all nominated by Tesla.
Hiromichi Mizuno, the former chief investment officer of Japan’s $1.5 trillion pension fund, will be replaced by Straubel.
Musk teased two new EVs
Musk teased two new electric vehicles that will join Tesla’s lineup during the event. The CEO stated that Tesla was in the process of building one and designing another, but he did not specify whether he meant a prototype or a production vehicle.
Musk said he didn’t want to get into specifics about the new vehicles, which would necessitate separate launch events, but Tesla did show a silhouette of one of them. Based on the size, Tesla could be teasing the $25,000 hatchback Musk mentioned during the company’s battery day in 2020.
Both of the new vehicles joining Tesla’s lineup are expected to be affordable and sell in much higher volumes.
“Elon’s guess is that we’ll probably make in excess of 5 million units per year of these two models combined,” said Musk.
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