Musk Says Job Titles Don’t Mean Anything

Only three positions matter to a company; everything else is made up.

Elon Musk wears a lot of hats.

SpaceX and Tesla seem to demand most of his attention, although he has also founded underground tunneling operation The Boring Company, and co-founded Neuralink, the brain/computer interface outfit. Juggling Tesla and SpaceX alone, the workload has to be a lot.

So when Musk participated in the Wall Street Journal's CEO Council Summit in Washington, D.C., one of the questions posed by the moderator was whether he would consider stepping down as CEO or taking a lesser role; he deflected, and said that titles don't mean anything. 

Back on March 15, Musk officially changed his title to "Technoking." He also changed CFO Zach Kirkhorn's title to "Master of Coin," though according to LinkedIn, he remains CFO. The title switch was a joke, but he made it in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to more or less prove that titles are meaningless. I mean, we've all worked with our share of gurus, evangelists, strategists and consultants. 

Musk said that there are three titles that mean anything for a company — president, secretary and treasurer — and he says they can all be the same person. Musk referenced the form entrepreneurs fill out when creating a C corporation. All they ask for is president, treasurer, secretary and director. Everything else is made up.

CEO, CFO, general counsel: all of them seem like more of a marketing experiment, according to Musk. 

And the best part is that he said this to a room filled with CEOs, again, at the Wall Street Journal's CEO Council Summit.

Musk was interviewed remotely from Tesla's Gigafactory in Texas. It looked like he was broadcasting from above the factory floor, but he said the floor plan calls for office space and the factory to be as close together as possible, so management and engineering can see what is happening and stay grounded. Or, in his words, Tesla's factory has "no ivory tower of management or engineering," or whatever their titles may be.  

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