Elon Musk has never been accused of being a hands-off senior executive. The Tesla CEO sent out a company-wide email yesterday confirming as such, in which Musk contends that he must personally approve every new hire at the electric vehicle company.
Tesla staffers who spoke to CNBC on the condition of anonymity told the publication that the message was viewed internally as notice of a soft hiring freeze, or simply a sign of Elon amplifying his renewed focus at Tesla. The message does come just days after Musk stepped down from the top-spot over at Twitter, selecting former NBCUniversal ad chief Linda Yaccarino as his replacement.
The electric vehicle company is also coming off of a fairly difficult first quarter, where net income dropped more than 20 percent year-over-year. That underperformance hurt stock prices as well, which saw a 10 percent drop through that same time period. The brand was also the most recalled of any automaker in 2022, and just recently had to recall some 1.1 million vehicles in China due to a braking defect.
Tesla is no stranger to hiring freezes in times of economic uncertainty, combining the practice with a round of layoffs just just about a year ago. According to Electrek, the company ended last year with some 127,000 employees, which was still up 28 percent from the year prior. Regardless, the adjustment will certainly slow the rate at which new employees join Tesla in 2023. Electrek states that figure has averaged around 30,000 employees a year for the last three years.
While it seems like a misuse of time to have Elon acting as a hiring manager, it is possible the threat of CEO intervention will make the entire process a bit more stringent. Or it's possible this is yet another example of the Techno king getting involved in areas of his business that he shouldn’t.