BlackRock pushes for separation of powers at Tesla - Josh Loe

BlackRock pushes for separation of powers at Tesla

The world’s largest investor is joining the chorus of voices pushing for a separation of powers at the electric vehicle, solar panel and battery manufacturer, Tesla.

Funds managed by BlackRock, a top 10 shareholder in the electric vehicle company run by Elon Musk (and the manager of roughly $6.3 trillion in global assets), joined calls for the creation of an independent chairman position at Tesla.

The shareholder initiative, which was solidly defeated, would not have affected Musk’s standing as chief executive.

News of BlackRock’s push comes as a new article in The Wall Street Journal further underscores the autocratic ways in which Musk manages his electric vehicle startup, and highlights the singular grip Musk has on his companies and the public’s perception of them.

While the technology industry is famously known for catering to the whims of authoritarian executives, Musk’s recent behavior on social media, with the press, and in private has damaged the company’s stock price and caused some concern even within his own boardroom.

Warren Buffett has even weighed in on Musk’s social media use.

In an emailed statement to Reuters, which first noticed the filing, a BlackRock spokesperson said:

“BlackRock’s approach to investment stewardship is driven by our fiduciary duties to our clients, the asset owners. Our approach to engaging with companies and proxy voting activities is consistent with our commitment to drive long term shareholder value for our clients.”

Musk has had a particularly rough August since he first floated on Twitter, and then rescinded, a plan to take Tesla private.

Tesla shares are down roughly 1% in midday trading on the Nasdaq.

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