Tesla's shares plummeted around 14 percent on Friday over concerns about the company's future after the announcement of the fraud charges against Musk, which were a fresh blow to the mercurial Silicon Valley entrepreneur and his company.
The row began in August when Musk (47) tweeted that he was considering taking Tesla private at $420 a share and had secured funding.
The settlement requires that Tesla appoint two new independent directors and establish a committee of independent board members.
An army of Tesla-owning volunteers swooped in over the weekend to help deliver cars to new buyers while Musk cheered on his employees, telling them in emails to "ignore all distractions" and that they were on the cusp of "an epic victory beyond all expectations". "Funding secured." Later on, the SEC ruled that Musk never went through with his declaration and deal between the company and the Saudi sovereign wealth fund set to foot the bill on the buyout. The tweets had no basis in fact, and the ensuring market chaos hurt investors, the SEC said.
In the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, more than 75 people crammed into Tesla's service center and another 50 or so waited outside.
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As part of the multi-million dollars settlement, Musk will remain as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), but can't take the seat as the chairman for three years. Tesla had come under criticism for years prior to Musk's take-private episode for lax governance, though shareholders sided with the board in June by voting against an independent chairman proposal and approving the re-election of three directors.
"The resolution is meant to prevent further market disruption and harm to Tesla's shareholders", said SEC enforcement division co-director Steven Peikin.
Furthermore, it adds: "Despite notifying the market in 2013 that it intended to use Musk's Twitter account as a means of announcing material information about Tesla and encouraging investors to review Musk's tweets, Tesla had no disclosure controls or procedures in place to determine whether Musk's tweets contained information required to be disclosed in Tesla's SEC filings".
But its shares have been hit hard since the SEC filed the lawsuit.
Musk has baffled investors with emotional and seemingly erratic media appearances, including one where he appeared to smoke marijuana, and a public battle with a rescuer who helped save a group of boys trapped in a cave in Thailand, whom he termed a "pedo guy". Shareholders are betting the company is on the cusp of turning a profit thanks to its lower-priced Model 3 sedan.