Tesla could use more focus from Elon Musk, says former board member

Elon Musk, co-founder of Tesla and SpaceX and owner of X Holdings Corp., speaks at the Milken Institute Global Conference at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on May 6, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California.

Apu Gomes | Getty Images

Tesla could use more of top CEO Elon Musk's divided focus at a crucial time for the electric car industry, former board member Steve Westly said Thursday.

“For any CEO of one of the top companies in the world, you have to be focused on what you do. And it now appears that Mr. Musk's focus is in too many areas,” Westly told CNBC during the annual press conference. VivaTech conference in Paris.

Westly said Musk's waning focus was part of the reason Tesla lagged behind its “Magnificent Seven” counterparts, noting that Musk would be wise to follow tech darling's leadership example. Nvidia.

“When you look at people like Jensen Huang – who is arguably the best CEO in the world right now and continues to deliver superior results – focus is the key. Tesla could use more of it,” said Westly, director of venture capital firm The Westly Group and an early Tesla investor.

Recent sagas surrounding staff layoffs and Musk's salaries have added to the mounting distractions facing the serial entrepreneur, with a recent drop in sales suggesting the company has “lost ground”, he added.

However, the extent to which Musk is liable for Tesla, Westly said, was “for the board of directors to decide.”

Despite this, he highlighted Tesla's ability to bring new products to an increasingly competitive market, noting that a newly announced low-cost $25,000 Tesla model could hit the market in early 2025.

'Don't bet against that man [Musk]he has a pretty good record,” Westly said.

CNBC has reached out to Tesla for comment.

“Focus is key, Tesla could use more of it,” says former board member Westly

Tesla disappointed investors last month with its biggest quarterly sales decline since 2012, adding to negative news for the company after it announced a workforce cut of more than 10%.

Meanwhile, Musk's concurrent commitments at his several other ventures, including SpaceX, X, Neuralink and The Boring Company, have led to a dispute over the entrepreneur's earnings. bumper $56 billion Tesla pay package.

Tesla's slowdown comes at a crucial time for the electric car industry, amid increased competition and a growing trade dispute between Washington and Beijing over alleged Chinese subsidies. Last week, US President Joe Biden imposed new 100% tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles starting this year, in a move he said was to prevent China from 'dumping' cheap products onto the market.

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