Elon Musk Is the New ‘Technoking of Tesla’ and CFO Is Dubbed ‘Master of Coin’

Tesla Inc.


TSLA 0.94%

said Chief Executive

Elon Musk

has changed his title at the company to “Technoking of Tesla,” extending an irreverent streak in the 49-year-old’s leadership of the electric-vehicle maker.

The company also said Chief Financial Officer

Zach Kirkhorn

will have the title of “Master of Coin.” Both Mr. Musk and Mr. Kirkhorn will maintain their respective positions as CEO and financial chief, according to a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday.

The company didn’t explain the meaning of the titles and didn’t respond to an inquiry. Mr. Kirkhorn’s new title might carry echoes of Tesla’s ambitions around cryptocurrency. Earlier this year, Tesla said it had invested $1.5 billion in bitcoin and that it aims to start accepting bitcoin as payment from car buyers.

Over the weekend, bitcoin crossed $60,000 for the first time Saturday before falling back. A steady stream of institutional demand has been credited with driving much of bitcoin’s rally since the start of 2020, when it traded near $7,000.

Elon Musk’s optimism and affinity for grandiose claims that may have once undercut his credibility may have now helped propel him to become the world’s second richest person. WSJ takes a look at how he managed to succeed amid the pandemic. Photo: Britta Pedersen/Zuma Press (Video from 12/11/20)

Other companies have also embraced bitcoin in recent months. Square Inc., which shares bitcoin advocate

Jack Dorsey

as its CEO with

Twitter Inc.,


TWTR 1.26%

acquired about $50 million worth for its corporate treasury in October.

Bank of New York Mellon Corp.


BK -0.49%

said it would start treating bitcoin like any other financial asset, and

Mastercard Inc.


MA -0.00%

said it would integrate bitcoin into its payments network this year.

Mr. Musk’s new title could be intended to reflect Tesla’s view as a long-term source of technology disruption, Wedbush analyst

Daniel Ives

wrote in a research memo, pointing to the company’s autonomous-driving work and its strides in battery technology.

Mr. Musk’s role as Tesla’s public face hasn’t kept him from pulling cheeky provocations. Breaking away from the mold of big-company CEOs who make carefully worded public statements, Mr. Musk often posts Twitter messages with freewheeling thoughts about subjects ranging from Tesla’s share price to science-fiction topics and online memes.

Tweeting has gotten Mr. Musk in trouble with regulators. In 2018 he announced on Twitter that he was considering plans to take the auto maker private, a claim later deemed misleading by the SEC after it became clear he didn’t have funding finalized for such a move.

He denied wrongdoing but eventually settled with a deal that included him giving up his position as chairman of Tesla and agreeing to have any of his Twitter messages relating to the auto maker’s business reviewed before publishing them.

Mr. Musk’s ownership stake in the company helped him surpass

Amazon.com Inc.


AMZN -1.38%

founder

Jeff Bezos

as the world’s richest man this year.

Write to Matt Grossman at [email protected]

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