Ross Gerber, a significant shareholder and notable Tesla bull, will be running for a seat on the Tesla Board of Directors at an upcoming meeting in May.
The end of last year was a tumultuous time for Tesla stock and hence, a period of high pressure for the Tesla Board of Directors. Following the company’s stock collapse, many investors were hopeful that the Board would introduce change to regain control of the company’s share price. While the Board chose not to act, Tesla’s continuing stock value rebuild has inspired a new class of investors to join the Board, including Ross Gerber, who told Reuters he plans to run.
Gerber controls respectable 440,000 shares, roughly. Thanks to his experience as CEO of a California-based wealth-management fund, Gerber believes he is qualified and can be a voice for change on the Board. He told Reuters he hopes to be a “friendly activist” on a mission to fix three main issues; public relations, customer service, and succession planning.
Two of Gerber’s concerns are relatively widespread within the realm of Tesla investors. For years, Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s decision to have no communication or public relations office has split opinions, leading some to praise the company’s innovative cost-cutting strategy and others to criticize its lack of openness.
The biggest issue at tesla is NOT demand or quality or competition. ITS OPTICS. $TSLA
— Ross Gerber (@GerberKawasaki) January 14, 2023
The same long-lasting concern can be said for customer service. Despite the growing number of service stations, the continuous expansion of mobile repair, and a series of promises to improve, many customers and investors remain unsatisfied with the operation.
Perhaps Gerber’s most fresh idea is succession planning, though he is not alone in the concern either. Tesla is inexplicably linked to the name and persona of Elon Musk, and with that comes inherent risk as it remains unclear how the company or market would react were he to depart for any reason.
This brings us to why Gerber is not alone in his concerns. Tesla’s third-largest investor, KoGuan Leo, expressed his support for Gerber’s Board membership on Twitter just after he announced his candidacy.
Ross and I shared love of Tesla and humongous respect for what Elon has achieved for Tesla. Tesla will be the most consequential company of our era. https://t.co/cqKsJOq1Ib
— KoGuan Leo (@KoguanLeo) February 1, 2023
Becoming a Tesla Board member is fairly straightforward, though Gerber has somewhat circumvented the typical system. Typically, upcoming board members are nominated by Tesla’s Nomination and Corporate Governance Committee. They will then have the chance to be included on a ballot for a Board seat at the annual Board meeting. At that time, Tesla investors can vote for each open board seat. The eight Board members hold their positions for three years and are subject to no term limits.
With the upcoming Board meeting in May, Gerber will, in essence, put his ideas to the test. If enough Tesla investors, much like Leo, find his concerns with Tesla to resonate with them, Gerber has a good shot at getting his seat. However, with such entrenched Board leadership that has consistently faced limited challenges, this may be easier said than done.
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