Tesla CEO Elon Musk stands on stage as he attends a startup forum in Hong Kong, China.
Bobby Yip | Reuters
Elon Musk has run two ambitious tech companies simultaneously since becoming chairman and later CEO of the electric vehicle maker. Tesla while also running SpaceX, its reusable rocket and satellite online business.
In 2017, he founded a brain-computer interface startup, Neuralink, and a drill press called Boring Co. and is in the midst of a contentious lawsuit with Twitter over the purchase went wrong.
With his attention divided, Musk relies on a large team of representatives — more than 20 people today — to keep the Tesla business going. His line-up of direct reports changes frequently with strategic or organizational changes, occasional “layoffs” by the mercurial CEO, and resignations.
Here’s the direct news we know about as of September 2022. Data was collected from interviews with current and recent Tesla employees, LinkedIn profiles, internal and public Tesla records, and may not include all individuals reporting to him.
The employee numbers are approximate and refer to the number of people each of Musk’s direct reports managed in early September.
About 22% of the CEO’s direct reports are now based in Texas, about half are still based in California, and more than 90% are male.
Musk will have to lean on those representatives as Tesla works to bring its new factories in Gruenheide, Germany, and Austin, Texas, to full production and demonstrate progress on its many other goals.
Musk told shareholders and fans that Tesla will “solve Full Self-Driving” this year, improve vehicle service and repair, and begin deliveries of the experimental Cybertruck pickup truck by mid-2023. Musk also said Tesla will boost battery production. capabilities to be able to produce 100 gigawatt-hours worth of 4,680 batteries on its own this year, enough to power more than a million of its cars.
Musk’s direct reports have also recently needed to work through downsizing in uncertain economic times.
The CEO suddenly announced a sharp cut in Tesla’s workforce at the end of May during a challenging second quarter marked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the outbreak of the Covid-19 disease in China.
In June, Tesla closed the entire Autopilot office in San Mateo and fired at least some employees who were previously authorized to work remotely but who disagreed with Musk’s order to work in the Tesla office minimum 40 hours per week. Musk cited a “super bad feeling” about the economy in an email to Tesla employees in June.
However, Tesla’s former chief AI officer, Andrej Karpathy, was not among those fired or let go by Musk — he formally announced his resignation from the company in July. Autopilot head Ashok Elluswamy reports directly to Musk for now.
Other direct reports of Musk parting ways with Tesla in 2022 included former Nevada Gigafactory vice president Chris Lister as CNBC previously reportedand Jean Frazier, who was Tesla’s senior director of employee relations, according to CNBC’s internal documents.
According to records, David Searle, who previously headed Tesla’s legal department, is still employed there. Insiders said they expect Searle to leave in the coming months because he previously managed more than a dozen employees and now has only one direct report listed on internal organizational charts.
According to public and internal records, Chief Legal Officer Dinna Eskin now serves as Tesla’s legal manager and is essentially the company’s general counsel. As of the end of 2019, Tesla has not officially employed a person with the title of General Counsel.