In August, Tesla CEO Elon Musk set off an entirely preventable and catastrophic chain of events by tweeting that he was “considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.” Musk provided no financing details, and the Securities and Exchange Commission later determined that he never finalized any kind of deal with the Saudi sovereign wealth fund behind the ostensible buyout. Last week, it slapped him with fraud charges for making “false and misleading” statements and not complying with regulatory requirements.
Musk and the company’s board initially appeared to be digging in for a battle, but per the Washington Post, on Saturday he caved. Musk has agreed to a settlement in which both he and Tesla will pay out separate $20 million fines, and Musk will step down as Tesla’s chairman for at least three years. The only silver lining is that Musk will be allowed to remain the company’s CEO, the Post wrote:
Tesla chief executive Elon Musk agreed on Saturday to pay a $20 million fine and step down as board chairman as part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Tesla will separately pay another $20 million and agreed to add two new independent directors to its board and monitor the billionaire’s public communications more closely… Under the settlement, Musk will resign as chairman of the automaker within 45 days and be barred from that position for three years. But he will remain Tesla’s CEO and does not have to admit wrongdoing as part of the deal.