Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, stands at the podium while attending a startup forum in Hong Kong, China.
Bobby Yip | Reuters
Elon Musk has run two ambitious tech companies at the same time since becoming chairman and then CEO of electric vehicle maker Tesla, while also running SpaceX, his satellite internet and reusable rocket business.
In 2017, he launched a brain-computer interface startup, Neuralink, and a drilling business called Boring Co., and is in the middle of a contentious lawsuit with Twitter over a purchase gone wrong.
With his attention divided, Musk relies on a large team of deputies (more than 20 people today) to keep Tesla in business. His cast of direct reports changes frequently with strategic or organizational changes, occasional “one-time firings” by the mercurial CEO, and resignations.
Here are the direct reports we know of as of September 2022. The data was collected from interviews with current and recent Tesla employees, LinkedIn profiles, internal and public Tesla records, and may not include all whistleblowers.
Staff figures are approximate and refer to the number of people each of Musk’s direct reports managed as of early September.
About 22% of the CEO’s direct reports are now in Texas, about half are still in California, and more than 90% are men.
Musk will have to lean on those lawmakers as Tesla works to bring its new factories in Gruenheide, Germany, and Austin, Texas, to full production, and to demonstrate progress on its many other goals.
Musk has told shareholders and fans that Tesla will “solve full self-driving” this year, improve vehicle service and repairs, and begin deliveries of the experimental Cybertruck pickup truck in mid-2023. He also said Tesla would strengthen its battery manufacturing capabilities. to be able to produce 100 gigawatt-hours of 4,680 batteries on its own this year, enough to power more than 1 million of its cars.
Musk’s direct reports have also recently needed to navigate cash drawdowns in uncertain economic times.
The CEO suddenly announced a sharp cut in Tesla’s workforce in late May during a challenging second quarter that was marked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and outbreaks of Covid-19 in China.
In June, Tesla closed an entire Autopilot office in San Mateo, California, and fired at least some employees who were previously authorized to work remotely, but who did not accept an order from Musk to work in a Tesla office for at least 40 hours per week . The CEO cited a “super bad feeling” about the economy in an email to Tesla staff in June.
Tesla’s former senior director of artificial intelligence Andrej Karpathy was not among those fired or fired by Musk, but he did formally announce his resignation from the company in July. Autopilot leader Ashok Elluswamy is reporting directly to Musk for now.
Other direct reports of Musk who parted ways with Tesla in 2022 have included former Nevada Gigafactory vice president Chris Lister, as previously reported by CNBC, and Jean Frazier, who was Tesla’s senior director of employee relations, according to internal documents seen by CNBC.
David Searle, who previously ran Tesla’s legal department, still works there, records show. Insiders said they expect Searle to leave in the coming months, as he previously managed more than a dozen employees, and now has only one direct report listed on internal organizational charts.
According to public and internal records, Senior Director of Legal Dinna Eskin now serves as the manager of Tesla’s legal department and is effectively the company’s general counsel. Tesla has not officially employed a person with the title of general counsel since late 2019.