July 12, 2022
Melinda Head

Man Out of Control

Teflon degrades when it gets hot

Is it proper for a CEO to have a sexual relationship with one of his employees? If you aren’t sure of the answer to this question, just ask the former CEOs of McDonald’s, Boeing, Intel and CBS.

It appears that Elon Musk, CEO of Neuralink (and other companies such as Tesla and SpaceX), has fathered twins with subordinate employee Shivon Zilis, Director of Operations and Special Projects at Neuralink.

Are you kidding me?
Houston, we have a problem.

Neuralink is still a privately held company, not traded on any stock exchange. Instead, its funding has come from a variety of institutional, corporate and deep pocket private investors, including some very heavy hitters. They have put $363 million on the table, betting that Neuralink will eventually be a good investment.

So, does that mean Elon Musk can do whatever he wants without any oversight or repercussions?

In a publicly traded company, Musk would report to a Board of Directors. The Board has 3 main responsibilities: 1. To hire/fire the CEO; 2. To oversee the Company; 3. To ensure that it makes decisions in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders. In America, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) protects shareholders by enforcing securities laws, taking action against wrongdoers and overseeing markets and firms to ensure that investors are treated fairly and honestly. But Neuralink is not a publicly traded company, so is having sex with a subordinate staff member okay? Let me just say that, when capital is raised, SEC governance standards must be met.

Sex and power are a very risky combination,rife with legal and reputational risks. Why would anyone in their right mind combine the two, especially in the #metoo era?

Furthermore, why would anyone invest in a company or any other company led by the same individual, knowing that its CEO flaunts his illicit fertility, rather than acknowledging the inappropriateness of his on-the-job sexual behavior and stepping aside?

Mr. Musk, I thought you wanted to move the ball forward. But you have just taken a giant step backward. You are not made of Teflon. You are out of control. Perhaps Mars is the best place for you to live after all.

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About the Author

A serial entrepreneur, Melinda is a sociologist and statistician who believes there is no currency with greater value than knowledge

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