At the same time, new families keep popping up all over the place. Only this month it emerged he had twins with one of his executives, while his on-off partner, the singer Grimes, is due to have another baby soon. We suspect that Elon is not a hundred percent signed up to sharing parenting chores equally. Even so, it sounds exhausting. Is Musk a hundred percent concentrating on the day job? Does he have the clarity it needs? Or the concentration? It seems unlikely, to say the least.
There are precedents for flamboyant founders being pushed out of the companies they built. Travis Kalanick was removed from Uber when his chaotic management style threatened to derail the company. Then of course there is the Steve Jobs example.
Just because you are the main architect of a company does not mean you can run it forever, regardless of how badly you are doing. Nor does it mean that you can ever be fired. It has happened plenty of times before, and it can happen again.
Musk still owns almost a fifth of Tesla, even if he does end up having to sell a few shares to fund a settlement with Twitter. He is not yet at the stage where the board is plotting against him, or where shareholders are openly calling for his resignation. But he is clearly losing his grip on it.
In truth, Musk has become a liability at Tesla. He has picked too many fights, spread his energies too thinly, and shown little appetite for the discipline and focus required to run one of the biggest companies in the world, and one that should still be growing at an accelerating rate.
If he were mature enough, he would step aside for a time and let more professional managers take the company to the next stage. If he does n’t, others may start to try and extract him against his will from him. Better to bow out gracefully.