‘We’re making a bet on Elon Musk’: Tesla’s most powerful shareholders to act as firewall for CEO

Tesla CEO faces votes at Tuesday’s shareholder meeting that will challenge his grip on the carmaker, but big fund managers appear to have his back

Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk faces votes at Tuesday’s shareholder meeting that will challenge his grip on the electric carmaker, but he may be able to count on some powerful friends: big fund managers likely to be fans.

These stockpickers would have weighed Musk’s forceful public persona in their decisions to buy and hold Tesla shares in the first place, and likely are ready to back him at the meeting to be held in Mountain View, California, said analysts, corporate governance experts and investors.

They expect shareholders to elect three Tesla directors and vote to let Musk keep his chairman’s title despite investor challenges and broader concerns with Tesla’s production.

“We’re making a bet on Elon Musk,” said one top-20 Tesla investor who plans to back the directors and vote to keep Musk’s roles intact. The investor compared Musk to Apple Inc founder Steve Jobs, saying, “These people are geniuses. You either believe in him or you don’t.”

Said Morningstar analyst David Whiston, referring to big, actively managed funds holding Tesla, “I doubt they would vote against Elon because if you don’t believe in Elon, why are you in the stock?”

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