Tesla rocked as Elon Musk smokes marijuana on Joe Rogan’s podcast and executives depart

Shares drop 6 per cent after chief accounting officer resigned and Musk appeared on live internet broadcast swigging whiskey and smoking weed with host

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 September, 2018, 11:36pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 September, 2018, 6:14am

Tesla shares fell 6 per cent on Friday as the resignation of its chief accounting officer after just a month at work spooked investors amid another social media storm around billionaire chief executive Elon Musk.

The company, hurt in the past month by Musk’s high-profile U-turn on a deal to take it private, said its chief accounting officer Dave Morton had resigned, citing discomfort with the level of public attention and pace of work.

That followed a Twitter storm overnight about Musk smoking marijuana and drinking whiskey in a two-and-a-half-hour live web show with comedian Joe Rogan.

Bloomberg also reported that Tesla’s Chief People Officer Gaby Toledano was to leave the company just over a year after joining.

We think this is further evidence that the time is now for management ... to address these issues
James Albertine, Consumer Edge

Some Wall Street analysts called again for the company to appoint another senior leader to take the pressure off Musk, or rein in his control.

“We have been calling for a co-CEO or COO to assist to codifying the leadership structure and in so doing, the culture at Tesla,” said James Albertine, an analyst at equity research firm Consumer Edge. “We think this is further evidence that the time is now for management and the Board to address these issues.”

Tesla shares, down just 1 per cent after Musk’s appearance on the Rogan podcast, fell another 7 per cent in the half-hour after the Morton’s resignation. They were down 8 per cent by 9.13am New York time. They dropped 11 per cent on the week.

“I want to be clear that I believe strongly in Tesla, its mission, and its future prospects, and I have no disagreements with Tesla’s leadership or its financial reporting,” the company quoted Morton as saying in a filing.

Musk, 47, spent two and a half hours on a podcast late on Thursday discussing everything from artificial intelligence and its impact on humankind to flame throwers and social media.

Taking a puff from a joint – which Rogan said was a blend of tobacco and marijuana and legal in California – Musk said he “almost never” smoked.

“I’m not a regular smoker of weed,” Musk said. “I don’t actually notice any effect … I don’t find that it is very good for productivity.”