Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk.
Photograph by Patrick Fallon — Reuters
By Nancy Mann Jackson
May 15, 2015

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, made headlines this week–though probably not in the way he would’ve liked.

According to a new biography, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, by Ashlee Vance, Musk once scolded an employee for missing a work event to witness the birth of his child. Vance writes that Musk sent the employee the following email:

“That is no excuse. I am extremely disappointed. You need to figure out where your priorities are. We’re changing the world and changing history, and you either commit or you don’t.”

On Tuesday, Musk vigorously denied Vance’s account:

He did not, however, take issue with many of the other statements attributed to him, such as his response when an employee complained about working too many hours: “I would tell those people they will get to see their families a lot when we go bankrupt,” he reportedly said.

While we can’t know what really was or wasn’t said to that new dad, perhaps Musk can take some comfort in the fact that he’s far from the first CEO to be accused of punishing employees for having obligations outside of the office. Here, a look at four other chief executives who’ve been tagged with the “family-unfriendly” label.


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