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Jul 27, 2021

Tesla CEO Elon Musk to skip most earnings calls

Musk continues to challenge IR conventions

Elon Musk, CEO of Telsa, has said he will likely no longer appear on the company’s earnings calls unless there is something ‘important’ he needs to say.

Musk made the comments yesterday during the Q&A section of the Q2 earnings call, which included questions from retail investors pulled from a crowd-sourcing platform.

A private investor asked whether Musk would take part in a YouTube interview once or twice a year and then suggested a couple of popular retail-focused channels.

In response, Musk said: ‘I guess that I’ll do an interview. Just bear in mind [that] if I’m doing interviews tonight I can’t do actual other work. Only so much time in the day. But yeah, I’ll do it once. I won’t do it annually, but I’ll do it once.’

He then added: ‘I will no longer speak, default, during earnings calls. So obviously I’ll do the annual shareholder meetings but, I think going forward, I will most likely not be on earnings calls unless there’s something really important I need to say.’

Skipping the earnings call would raise eyebrows on the Street given that the CEO and CFO of public companies typically appear on quarterly calls.

But Musk is no stranger to putting his own spin on investor communications: he has previously made comments on Twitter about Tesla that caused the electric car company’s share price to move dramatically.

Last year the SEC told Musk his tweets had  ‘twice violated a court-ordered policy requiring his tweets to be pre-approved by company lawyers,’ according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.

In 2018 Tesla settled an enforcement action with the SEC following a tweet in which Musk said he was planning to take the company private. Under the settlement, Musk had to step down as chairman and agree to have his communications overseen by new controls.

Tesla includes retail investor questions on its earnings call using an application called Say. The platform allows investors – retail and institutional – to submit questions and also vote on other submissions, with the most popular queries rising to the top.

During the earnings call yesterday, Tesla took retail investor questions via Say first, followed by the institutional questions submitted on the platform. It then concluded the event with live calls from the sell-side community.

Tesla has been approached for comment.