Tesla needs to put a seat belt on Elon Musk – Chester Spatt

Golub Distinguished Visiting Professor of Finance, Chester Spatt

From MarketWatch

The past few months have been turbulent for Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

From publicly accusing a Thai rescue diver of being a pedophile (without evidence) and conducting a radio interview while smoking marijuana to insulting equity analysts on one earnings call and threatening to take Tesla private — then reversing those statements, triggering a SEC and a criminal investigation — Musk has engaged in some reckless behavior.

Then there are production problems with Tesla not being able to deliver cars on time. A big question is whether Musk should step down. While investor confidence in Musk has taken a big hit, he is a visionary leader and there would likely be great disappointment if he left the company.

What Musk does need is a lot more checks and balances by his management team. Investors would like Musk to have more self-control and act more like other legendary leaders, such as the late Steve Jobs of Apple and Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos.

For that to have a chance, Tesla’s management team must play a bigger role in guiding the company’s strategy both internally and externally. If Musk is required to step down as CEO for a period of time by the SEC, the management team must be ready to take the wheel.

Tesla also needs to step back and review the basics of corporate governance. U.S. securities laws and common business practices are meant to keep market participants honest, so that they effectively represent their own best interests and those of their shareholders.

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Action learning in Latin America – Stuart Krusell

Director of the MIT Sloan Office of International Programs Stuart Krusell

Director of the MIT Sloan Office of International Programs Stuart Krusell

When a business in Latin America forms a partnership with one of MIT Sloan’s Action Learning programs, both the company and the students in the program emerge as winners.

A small team of students is assigned to work with the company. Most of the participants are second-year MBA students, who already had considerable work experience before starting their graduate studies. For the previous year or longer, the students have been gaining core management knowledge and skills in Sloan classrooms.

The company typically wants help considering the merits of a business initiative, such as entering a new market or launching a product. Many of the initiatives have an important technology component.

The Global Entrepreneurship Lab or G-Lab is the Sloan School’s largest Action Learning program, and it has a strong presence in Latin America. G-Lab participants spend three months studying the company remotely from MIT, learning about the business and its industry. Then, for three weeks, the students go to the company’s site, meeting with top executives and getting an up-close look at the operation. At the conclusion of the project, the team presents its recommendations.

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