And then came Sunday night.
It was an example of Elon being Elon during an interview on the CBS program “60 Minutes”. Musk, not one for biting his tongue or hiding his emotions, spent the length of the segment with correspondent Lesley Stahl sounding like he was going to be the same high-profile, outspoken CEO he has always been, regardless of what anyone has to say. Including the SEC.
“I want to be clear. I do not respect the SEC. I do not respect them,” Musk told Stahl.
In late September, the SEC sued Musk for fraud due to his tweeting that he had “funding secured” for a plan to take Tesla private for $420 a share, but then failed to provided specific financing details about his take-the-company-private plan. The SEC sought to remove Musk as Tesla’s CEO and ban him from running any public company in the United States.Musk quickly settled with the SEC in a deal that allowed him to remain as Tesla’s CEO. To settle the charges, Musk and Tesla each agreed to pay a fine of $20 million, and Musk agreed to step down as Tesla’s chairman for at least three years.
Tesla eventually named board member Robyn Denholm to replace Musk as chairman of the company’s board of directors, and, ostensibly, become Musk’s boss. When Stahl mentioned that there’s an impression that Denholm was brought in to keep a watch on Musk, the Tesla CEO said to not hold your breath on that possibility.
Musk also suggested that no one should expect him to hold back too much on his Twitter usage. In addition to using Twitter to announce his idea about taking Tesla private, Musk also has used the platform to get into a sparring match with a British cave diver and has, at times, gotten into dustups with members of the media over how they have covered him and his company.“Twitter’s a war zone,” Musk said. “If somebody’s gonna jump in the war zone, it’s, like, ‘OK, you’re in the arena. Let’s go!'”