By CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — A major advisory firm is urging Tesla shareholders to vote to remove CEO Elon Musk from the company’s board, citing “a number of concerns” ranging from his erratic Twitter use, his rush to reopen amid COVID-19 and his “excessive” compensation package.
Pensions & Investment Research Consultants (PIRC), a London-based shareholder advisory and consulting firm, noted in a report on Tuesday to shareholders that Musk “presents a serious risk of reputational harm to the company and its shareholders, particularly through the use of his Twitter account.”
The report referenced the “pedo guy” tweet saga that sparked a defamation trial in 2019 after Musk attacked a British diver assisting in the Thai cave rescue in 2018 via Twitter. Musk eventually won the defamation suit and did not have to pay damages, though the trial was highly publicized.
Moreover, Musk “has been a vocal opponent of the COVID-19 quarantine, and reportedly required workers to return to work during quarantine, without sufficient precautions/protections and despite protests from workers,” the report added. “This concern is furthered as it has also been reported that multiple Tesla employees have tested positive for Covid-19 since returning to work.”
In May, Musk announced (also via Twitter) that he was defying a local government lockdown order to reopen his California electric car plant.
Finally, the report noted that in August 2018, Musk’s tweet that he was considering taking Tesla private led to a jump in stock prices, an SEC investigation into market abuse and a $40 million settlement that advisors at PIRC say the CEO could be considered responsible for.
Musk has not publicly responded to the report.
The Tesla shareholders meeting was initially scheduled for July 7, but Musk announced on Twitter last week that it was tentatively being moved to Sept. 15.
Tesla did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment Wednesday.
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