Tesla Unexpectedly Fires Even More Workers As Top Shareholder Concedes Musk No Longer "Needs To Be CEO"

As if the layoffs of - well, everyone - at the retail level and closure of all of its brick and mortar stores were not enough of an indication that Tesla is a "growth company", this afternoon the news broke that the company is also laying off an additional 81 people from its Fremont factory in California.

Citing California Employment Development Department data, Mercury News reported that this brings the total number of layoffs at the Fremont factory to 883 this month. Additional data shows that the company is ditching four other positions in Lathrop, which brings the total number of cuts at that location to 141. This round of job cuts is supposed to begin March 20.

Filings from Tesla in late January indicated 1,017 job cuts at Fremont, Palo Alto and Lathrop - but those cuts were part of previously announced layoffs that were expected to total 7% of the company's workforce. According to Tesla's latest annual report, it had 48,817 full time employees at the end of 2018. 

The news also seems to be at direct odds with what Musk reportedly told the media on last week's secretive conference call, where the eccentric CEO stated the company could be "significantly increasing headcount in service technicians." Pradoxically, the Mercury News story stated that the new cuts would mostly target "service technicians and tech support specialists".

As usual, Twitter sleuths nailed the discrepancy almost immediately. User @TeslaCharts published the following comparison of the call transcript with the news story:

Additionally, the layoff revelation broke just minutes after a Barron's article reported that one of the company's top shareholders, Ballie Gifford, "wouldn't be against [Elon Musk] having a different role" at the company.

“I don’t think he needs to be CEO,” James Anderson, head of global equities at Ballie Gifford said. 

“You can be in the background,” Anderson said on Bloomberg TV. “I can’t remember the last time that Jeff Bezos turned up on a quarterly call, let alone felt the need to talk about analysts, even though I suspect he’s got some quite big thoughts about them. You can take the pressure off yourself as well as the company by stepping back in that manner.”

Both revelations on Tuesday followed an afternoon Tweet that Musk put out in response to sycophant agitated shareholder Galileo Russell, where Musk seemed to admit that holding a secret conference call last Thursday was "a mistake".

We can't help but wonder if the SEC thought the same, and contacted the company about it. The saga continues...