Some industry experts believe Tesla should hire a female executive to direct CEO Elon Musk away from Twitter and toward reliably producing the kind of vehicles the Silicon Valley expects.
A woman might be exactly what Tesla needs to steer Musk clear of his erratic Twitter behavior, according to Jeff Cohn, a managing partner at advisory firm Elevate Partners. Someone like Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg would be a good fit, he noted.
“Someone who has those Sheryl Sandberg-esque qualities that could figure out how to develop the kind of relationship with Elon that is candid and transparent, so she could be a coach to him,” Cohn told CNBC Saturday.
“These soft skills for a CEO I think would be at least as important as the harder skills of knowing logistics, supply, and global operations,” he said before jumping headfirst into a discussion about gender difference. (RELATED: ‘It’s A Mess’: Tesla Insiders Dish The Dirt On Elon Musk’s Leadership)
Women are better at showing empathy and emotional intelligence, which would “play well when you are dealing with a strong ego, like Elon,” Cohn added. Other advisors think it might be virtually impossible for Tesla to lure strong talent away from other tech companies.
Executives in other Silicon Valley companies might not want to work for Musk, who reportedly micromanages every aspect of Tesla’s production process.
“The problem is, the house is on fire,” Dave Sullivan, an analyst for industry research firm AutoPacific, told reporters. “No one really wants to run in. You might not make it out alive.”
A handful of Tesla employees have mirrored Sullivan’s comments.
A New York Post report from August suggests Musk is using a mixture of reality distortion fields and trick-mirrors to keep his 15-year-old company from imploding. He’s not interested in the practicality of some of the promises he makes to Tesla neophytes, one source said.
“He is very difficult to move off his stance,” the source told The Post. “He’ll say, “The car can do X, Y or Z,’ And yes, that is possible — two decades from now … He bases his argument on the physically possible rather than the practical reality.'”
The report and speculation about Tesla’s willingness to hire another executive to counterbalance Musk have come amid a rough month for the company.
Musk announced on Twitter in August his willingness to take Tesla private at $420 per share. The Aug. 7 tweet shocked Wall Street, confused journalists and prompted regulators to issue subpoenas to determine how much the company’s board knew about Musk’s plan.
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