SAN FRANCISCO: Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said the electric carmaker plans to move its headquarters from Silicon Valley’s Palo Alto, California to Austin, Texas, where it is building a massive car and battery manufacturing complex.
Tesla joins Oracle, HP and Toyota Motor in moving US headquarters to Texas from California, which has relatively high taxes and living costs. Silicon Valley is known for the development of new ideas and companies but Texas has cheaper labour and less stringent regulation.
“I’m excited to announce that we’re moving our headquarters to Austin, Texas,” Musk told the company’s annual meeting, held in the Texas car factory. “This is not a matter of, sort of, Tesla leaving California,” he said,
Musk said the company plans to increase output from its main California factory and Nevada factory by 50 percent. He said the Fremont, California factory nonetheless is “jammed” and it is tough for people to afford houses in California.
Musk himself moved from California in December to focus on the electric-car maker’s new plant in the state and his SpaceX rocket company, which has a launch site in the southern tip of Texas.
Musk had a rocky relationship at times with California, threatening to move Tesla headquarters and future programs to Texas during a row over the closure of Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California due to COVID-19.
At the meeting, he showed off a design of a cowboy-style belt buckle emblazoned with “Don’t Mess With T” — the T in the style of the Tesla logo. The phrase is based on a venerable and popular Texas anti-littering campaign – Don’t Mess with Texas.
Despite criticism, shareholders followed board guidance on several key proposals, including re-election of Kimball Musk, Elon’s brother, and James Murdoch as board directors. They also voted in favour of a stockholder proposal to reduce director terms from three years to one year and a proposal regarding additional reporting on diversity and inclusion efforts.
Shareholders also voted against a stockholder proposal asking for a study into the impact of Tesla’s use of arbitration on workplace harassment and discrimination. The proposal, opposed by the board, was thrown into the spotlight after a Black former contract worker won a $137 million jury award against Tesla over workplace racism.