NATIONAL NEWS

Musk says he’s not stepping down as Tesla CEO, tells shareholders the company will advertise

May 16, 2023, 4:24 PM

FILE - Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk speaks at the SATELLITE Conference and Exhibition, March 9, 2...

FILE - Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk speaks at the SATELLITE Conference and Exhibition, March 9, 2020, in Washington. Musk on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, dismissed speculation that he might step down as Tesla's CEO and told the company’s annual shareholders meeting that the the electric car and solar panel company would start doing a small amount of advertising. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Elon Musk on Tuesday dismissed speculation that he might step down as Tesla’s CEO and told the company’s annual shareholders meeting that the the electric car and solar panel company would start doing some advertising.

“Say it ain’t so,” one shareholder asked Musk about stepping down as Tesla’s leader. “It ain’t so,” he replied without further discussion.

When another shareholder suggested that Tesla try advertising, Musk said he is open to it.

“This has some merit,” he said to the shareholder at the meeting at Tesla’s factory site near Austin, Texas. “We’ll try a little advertising and see how it goes.”

Tesla famously has avoided paying for advertising like its competitors, relying a lot on Musk’s ability to generate free publicity — he has 140 million followers on Twitter, the social media company bought for $44 billion last fall.

Musk told shareholders that the company’s “Full Self-Driving” software is getting close to where it’s safer than human driving. He previously has said the system should be ready this year, a pledge he has made for several years.

Tesla says on its website that the cars can’t drive themselves and humans must be ready to intervene at all times. The company also has been forced by U.S. safety regulators to recall the software because it didn’t obey traffic laws in some cases. The problems noted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are to be fixed with an online software update.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Musk cautioned that the next 12 months could be challenging for the Austin-based company, largely because rising interest rates have increased the cost of buying a car.

“Tesla is not immune to the global economic environment,” he said, predicting that the company will get through the period and do well, even when a lot of companies will go bankrupt.

Later on CNBC he talked about affordability of Tesla cars. “If the car payments or your home payments go up you have less money for other things,” he said.

He told the gathering that sometimes the pain of working has been “quite excruciating.” He called his time as CEO of Twitter a “short term distraction” and said the company needed open heart surgery to ensure its survival.

It’s now in a stable place, and he’s happy to have Linda Yaccarino, whom he hired away from NBCUniversal, to run Twitter. Musk said the amount of time he’ll devote to Twitter will be “relatively small” compared with the last six months since he bought the social media platform.

Before Musk’s talk, shareholders voted to place Tesla co-founder and former chief technology officer JB Straubel on the company’s board for the next three years. Straubel left Tesla in 2019 to start a battery materials recycling company.

Shareholders also re-elected Musk and Chairwoman Robyn Denholm to the board.

National News

President Joe Biden arrives on Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Saturday, July 13, 202...

Associated Press

Biden tries to balance his condemnation of the attack on Trump with the ongoing 2024 campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) — Homeland security and law enforcement officials were briefing President Joe Biden on Sunday about the apparent assassination attempt on his predecessor, Donald Trump, as the White House continued to call for national unity and condemn the stunning act of violence. Vice President Kamala Harris was joining Biden for an update from top […]

3 hours ago

FILE - President Ronald Reagan waves and then looks up before being shoved into the President's lim...

Associated Press

Reagan survived an assassination attempt and his response changed the trajectory of his presidency

WASHINGTON (AP) — The would-be assassin got off six shots in 1.7 seconds, nearly taking the life of a president and changing the trajectory of a presidency. It happened on a dreary March afternoon in 1981. President Ronald Reagan was leaving the Washington Hilton hotel after giving a speech to a union group when John […]

5 hours ago

A 150 million year old dinosaur skeleton is displayed at the Natural History Museum's new welcome c...

Associated Press

Gnatalie is the only green-boned dinosaur found on the planet. She will be on display in LA

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The latest dinosaur being mounted at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles is not only a member of a new species — it’s also the only one found on the planet whose bones are green, according to museum officials. Named “Gnatalie” (pronounced Natalie) for the gnats that swarmed during the […]

5 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is helped off the stage by U.S. Sec...

Associated Press

What we know about the 20-year-old suspect in the apparent assassination attempt of Donald Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — The man identified as the shooter in the apparent assassination attempt of former President Donald Trump was a 20-year-old from a Pittsburg suburb not far from the campaign rally where one attendee was killed. Authorities say Thomas Matthew Crooks of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, opened fire at the rally before being killed by […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Trump is injured but ‘fine’ after apparent assassination attempt leaves rally-goer and gunman dead

BUTLER, Pa. (AP) — On the heels of an apparent attempt to kill him, former President Donald Trump called Sunday for unity and resilience as shocked leaders across the political divide recoiled from the shooting that left him injured but “fine” and the gunman and a rally-goer dead. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee said the […]

7 hours ago

FILE - An Amazon worker delivers packages in Los Angeles on Oct. 1, 2020. July sales events have be...

Associated Press

Amazon Prime Day deals are almost here. Should you take advantage of them?

NEW YORK (AP) — It’s summertime, and the bargains seem easy at a time when many consumer prices are high. July sales events have become a seasonal revenue driver for the retail industry since Amazon launched its first Prime Day back in 2015. While consumers may be enticed by the advertised can’t-miss savings on some […]

10 hours ago

Musk says he’s not stepping down as Tesla CEO, tells shareholders the company will advertise