By Chris Morris
August 31, 2018

The fallout over Elon Musk’s scuttled bid to take Tesla private could be spreading. BlackRock, which owns nearly 6.5 million shares of the automaker, voted with shareholders who proposed replacing Elon Musk with an independent chairman.

The vote was soundly defeated, but BlackRock made its preferences clear in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday. And, given BlackRock’s prominence and strong reputation with investors, it could sway more votes in that direction if the issue comes up again.

“BlackRock’s approach to investment stewardship is driven by our fiduciary duties to our clients, the asset owners,” a BlackRock spokeswoman told Reuters. “Our approach to engaging with companies and proxy voting activities is consistent with our commitment to drive long term shareholder value for our clients.”

The vote would not have impacted Musk’s role as CEO of Tesla.

Musk has been under increased pressure from shareholders since he surprised everyone, including Tesla’s board, with a Tweet saying he was thinking about taking the company public. Those plans were abandoned within weeks

More recently, he has been acting increasingly erratic, reviving tweets about pedophilia and getting into a Twitter feud over whether he cried during an interview with The New York Times.

BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager. It manages over $6.3 trillion in assets worldwide.

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