Tesla's California leadership team didn't find out the electric-vehicle giant was moving its headquarters to Texas until Elon Musk announced the move during an annual shareholder meeting, a California official said, according to a report by Bloomberg.
Musk said at the October 7 meeting that Tesla would move its headquarters from Palo Alto to Austin, Texas, citing house prices in the Bay Area, lengthy commutes for staff, and limits to scaling up business.
"Elon didn't even tell his team," Dee Dee Myers, the director of California Gov. Gavin Newsom's office of business and economic development, said during a press call, per Bloomberg.
"We later talked to the leadership in his offices in California, who did not know until he made that announcement," she reportedly said.
Myers made the comment when asked whether Musk had told state officials about the plan in advance.
Grace Gedye, a reporter for Cal Matters, also tweeted about Myers' comments in the press call.
—Grace Gedye (@GraceGedye) October 26, 2021
Musk has been one of the driving forces behind the tech migration from Silicon Valley to the Lone Star State.
Musk moved to Texas last year and Tesla began building its Austin Gigafactory last summer. Musk's aerospace company SpaceX, his neurotechnology company Neuralink, and his infrastructure company The Boring Company all have operations in Texas, too, and Musk has said he plans to form a new city called Starbase at SpaceX's Texas launch facilities.
Musk said at the shareholder meeting that the company would continue to expand its activities in California, adding that Tesla aimed to ramp up production at its Fremont factory in the Bay Area by 50%.
"So this is not a matter of Tesla leaving California," Musk said.
Myers said at the press call that "I don't think anybody knows exactly what it means that he's moving his headquarters," per Bloomberg.
"From the perspective of California, they're not going anywhere," she said, per Bloomberg.
Musk has repeatedly clashed with California officials, including after coronavirus restrictions forced Tesla to temporarily close its Fremont factory. Musk threatened to move its headquarters to Nevada or Texas as a result.
Some have seen the tech exodus to Texas as a sign that Silicon Valley's days of dominating the industry are over.
But in an opinion piece for Mercury News, Myers said that: "Tesla hasn't succeeded in spite of California. It has succeeded because of California." She credited this to California's zero-emission vehicle policies and "well over" $1 billion in direct and indirect subsidies she said the state had given Tesla.