SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Tesla Inc CEO
Elon Musk did not participate in the company's earnings
conference call for the first time on Wednesday, making him one
of the rare top executives in the United States to miss the
quarterly ritual of talking to Wall Street.
Musk's popularity among investors and customers is a major
asset for the electric car maker, and his absence - if it
continues - is likely to turn Tesla's quarterly calls into more
staid reviews of business than unpredictable platforms for the
celebrity CEO's latest thoughts.
Earlier on Wednesday, Tesla beat Wall Street expectations
for third-quarter revenue on the back of record deliveries as it
navigated a prolonged global shortage of chips and raw
Apple Inc's late CEO, Steve Jobs, did not usually
speak on quarterly conference calls, but his successor, Tim
Cook, makes an appearance at the events. So do other major
executives like Ford Motor Co's CEO, Jim Farley, and
Facebook Inc's CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Amazon.com Inc's billionaire founder, Jeff Bezos,
did not attend the e-commerce giant's earnings calls prior to
his stepping down as CEO earlier this year. Musk and Bezos have
been vying for the title of world's richest person.
Musk said during Tesla's July earnings call that he would
not necessarily be present at such future events, "unless
there's something really important that I need to say."
In the past, the outspoken tycoon has used the quarterly
calls to make promises about delivering technology and products
and to fire back at analysts, the government and critics.
These days, Musk often focuses on another major venture,
SpaceX, which is developing a massive rocket to transport people
to Mars with the ultimate goal of colonizing the planet.
Morgan Stanley has said its clients believe SpaceX could
make Musk the first "trillionaire" and that the company could
ultimately command a higher valuation than even Tesla, the
world's most valuable industrial/manufacturing company.
On an earnings call last year, Musk called the U.S.
government's stay-at-home restrictions to curtail the
coronavirus outbreak fascist.
In another call in 2018, he refused to answer questions from
analysts on the electric vehicle makers capital requirements,
saying boring, bonehead questions are not cool. Tesla shares
fell as a result.
(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco and Subrat Patnaik
Editing by Peter Henderson and Matthew Lewis)