Between his Space X, Tesla, Twitter and Boring Company gigs, Elon Musk has more on his plate than a competitive eater at a free buffet. Some Tesla stockholders have already expressed concern that the CEO might have a little too much to deal with to give Tesla his full attention, and even the industrious Musk himself recently admitted that things were a little busy.
But while there’s nothing to suggest that Musk is about to vacate the captain’s chair at Tesla, a seat he has officially occupied since 2008, those stressed-out Tesla investors might sleep a little easier after hearing that Musk has apparently already worked out who will replace him.
The revelation came to light during a trial taking place this month relating to Musk’s 2018 Tesla pay package. James Murdoch, Tesla board member and son of media titan Rupert Murdoch, was asked by a lawyer to confirm that Musk had never identified any one particular person as the EV firm’s next CEO.
But Murdoch’s answer surprised the court. “He actually has,” Murdoch responded, adding that the decision had been made only in the “last few months,” Reuters reports. It’s unclear whether the appointment has been formalized or whether the person in question even knows that he’s been selected by the current boss.
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Murdoch didn’t name the likely candidate, but Fortune’s suggestions include Andrew Baglino, the company’s senior vice president for powertrain and energy engineering and Tesla’s top-ranking engineer after Musk. Other options are Omead Afshar, who Fortune describes as Musk’s right-hand man or fixer; Tesla’s recently appointed AI chief, Ashok Elluswamy; and finance head, Zach Kirkhorn, whose strict cost control means Tesla is now earning more money per vehicle. There’s even a suggestion that ex-Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess, an admirer of Musk, could step into the CEO position.
Musk said at Tesla’s shareholders meeting this August that he planned “to stay with Tesla as long as I can be useful,” but he also previously said that he doesn’t want to be CEO of any company.