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Apr 12, 2019

Buffett says Musk could improve as CEO, doubts merit of tweeting

Warren Buffett and Elon Musk.

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Warren Buffett echoed Tesla Inc.’s (TSLA.O) largest outside investor in questioning whether Elon Musk and Twitter make a good match.

“He’s a remarkable guy. I just don’t see the necessity to communicate,” the chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. said in an interview with Yahoo Finance airing on Friday. Buffett drew a stark contrast between Musk’s Twitter habits and his own, saying he’s only on the social network because a friend asked if she could sign him up and post on his behalf.

Buffett, 88, said Musk has “room for improvement” in behaving like a CEO, though he added that the Tesla chief “would say the same thing.”

The comments about Musk’s tweeting and tendency to say things that get him into trouble are reminiscent of an interview James Anderson, a partner at Baillie Gifford & Co., gave to Bloomberg Television last month. The portfolio manager for Tesla’s largest shareholder after Musk said the CEO may better serve the company by being less outspoken.

Musk should be “enabled to step back from having to feel so driven to comment,” Anderson said on March 5. “You can be in the background.”

A federal judge in New York has given Musk and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission until April 18 to rework an agreement governing how the CEO posts information about Tesla on social media. The two sides have been at odds over whether Musk violated a settlement last year related to his tweeting about trying to take the company private.

--With assistance from Dana Hull and Katherine Chiglinsky