By Ross Kerber
BOSTON (Reuters) – Tesla Inc investor Ross Gerber said Friday he will end his candidacy for the electric carmaker’s board of directors, citing changes investors can expect next week.
Gerber said in a phone interview that he decided to pull out after Martin Viecha, Tesla’s head of investor relations, told him the company has taken steps in the direction Gerber was seeking when he announced his board run on Feb. 10.
Among other things, Tesla will introduce more executives than usual at an investor day on March 1 at its Austin, Texas, headquarters to show its managerial talent beyond CEO Elon Musk, Gerber said.
Tesla will also create more Twitter and promotional content, which could help the brand move away from its strong identification with Musk. “That’s what I’m talking about, they have their own voice apart from Elon,” Gerber said.
Gerber, a Los Angeles investment manager, is a longtime Tesla bull who initially pitched his run as that of a “friendly activist.” While his asset manager only had about 440,000 shares of Tesla, he has received support from larger shareholders online.
Tesla shares closed Friday at less than half of their 2021 peak price as rivals gained ground as Musk continued its purchase of the social media platform Twitter. Tesla has promised investors to take a look at “our most advanced production line” on March 1.
Gerber said Telsa had not asked him to back down. “They don’t want to fight me and I don’t want to fight them,” Gerber said. “It just makes sense to do this and not have a conflicting situation,” he said.
Tesla representatives did not immediately respond to questions.
Gerber’s decision was first reported by Bloomberg News, citing a person familiar with the matter.
(Reporting by Ross Kerber; editing by David Gregorio)