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James Murdoch to succeed Musk as Tesla chairman?

05 October 2018

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has given Tesla just 45 days to find a new chairman.

"Just want to (say) that the Shortseller Enrichment Commission is doing incredible work". "And the name change is so on point!"

A little more than an hour after his initial tweet about the SEC on Thursday, one follower wrote to Musk that he seemed to be working against Tesla investors.

Musk has long feuded with short sellers, a category of investors that have been betting on Tesla's stock to fall.

Elon Musk insulted the Securities and Exchange Commission days after settling a fraud lawsuit brought by the USA agency, potentially imperiling a deal that allows him to remain Tesla Inc.'s chief executive officer.

The SEC alleged that Musk said a representative from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund had shown interest in taking Tesla private but had never discussed with Musk any of the specific terms he described on Twitter, including a proposed $US420 share price and an option for all existing Tesla shareholders to remain with the company after it went private.

The SEC did not comment on Mr Musk's tweets, nor did Tesla.

Elon Musk this afternoon openly mocked the SEC on Twitter.

"In and of itself it's not an ominous sign", said Jordan Thomas, a partner at Labaton Sucharow and former SEC lawyer.

The comments come five days after Musk reached a settlement with the SEC that required him to pay a $20 million fine and step down as chairperson, but which let him stay on as chief executive of the envelope-pushing carmaker.

On Thursday, Tesla shares fell 2.4% to $275 in after-hours trading.

But Musk and Tesla might not even be out of the woods yet.

Later, he re-posted a tweet he had written in 2012, saying: "That said, even though they cause me grief, I would defend the right of shorts to exist".

For her part, Nathan may have limited room to intervene, after a federal appeals court curbed the ability of judges to reject SEC settlements. However, the government was annoyed with Musk's decision to bail on the original agreement so they doubled down on the conditions for the new settlement.

James Murdoch to succeed Musk as Tesla chairman?