The third-largest individual shareholder in Tesla, Indonesian billionaire KoGuan Leo has called for the electric carmaker’s CEO Elon Musk to step down from his post and find a replacement, Leo said on Twitter.

Leo, who owned around 22.6 million Tesla shares and 1.23 million stock options valued at around US$3.4 billion (RM15.1 billion) as of August, took to Twitter on Wednesday to say that Musk had “abandoned Tesla and Tesla has no working CEO.” Leo is the third-largest individual shareholder after Musk and Oracle CTO and co-founder Larry Ellison.

Tesla shares have been one of the worst-performing among major automakers and tech companies this year, according to Reuters, which reported that investors are worried that Musk’s recent acquisition of Twitter could divert his attention away from the EV company, and may sell more Tesla stock to support the social media outlet that has been struggling.

The news wire cited Musk as saying that he will “make sure that Tesla shareholders benefit from Twitter [in the] long-term,” without offering more details.

“Elon is a brilliant business leader. He will realize soon (if not already) that his polarizing political views are hurting customer perceptions of Tesla EVs. Customers don’t want their cars to be controversial. They want to be proud as hell to drive them – not embarrassed,” Tesla proponent Gary Black tweeted on Wednesday according to Reuters.

Musk has history with posting controversial comments on Twitter, years before his acquisition of the social media firm. In 2018, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Musk with misleading investors with tweets in August that year that he was considering taking Tesla private at US$420 a share, though that was retracted later that month.

In 2019, the SEC asked a judge to hold Musk in contempt for violating a legal accord which required him to get Tesla approval for social media postings, with a tweet that wrote “Tesla made 0 cars in 2011, but will make around 500k in 2019.”

Musk clarified a few hours after that to say the company’s annualised production rate by end-2019 would probably be around 500,000, and that only 400,000 will be delivered. Tesla announced that year that it delivered around 367,500 vehicles in 2019.