Elon Musk steps down as Tesla Chairman after Controversial Tweet

Elon Musk to Resign as Chair of Tesla Board but Remain CEO

In case you haven't been paying attention to the news, Tesla's sort of going through a rough patch at the moment: The electric auto manufacturer's founder, Elon Musk, now has the US Securities and Exchange Commission breathing down his neck, and it's safe to say that the company's seen better days.

The stock was up 16.71% to $309.02 per share at 8:25 a.m.in NY.

Mr Musk and Tesla Inc have also agreed to pay $20m each to financial regulators. Tesla had come under criticism for years prior to Musk's take-private episode for lax governance, though shareholders sided with the board in June by voting against an independent chairman proposal and approving the re-election of three directors.

Two "independent directors" will also be appointed by Tesla, and the company will set up a new committee of independent directors and "put in place additional controls and procedures to oversee Musk's communications", the SEC said.

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"The resolution is meant to prevent further market disruption and harm to Tesla's shareholders", Steven Peikin, co-director of the SEC's Enforcement Division, said in the statement.

Tesla shares sank last week after the SEC filed a lawsuit accusing Musk of securities fraud and demanding the Silicon Valley billionaire be removed his role as chief executive. Tesla's free cash flow in the second quarter totaled negative $739.5 million, bringing the company to a net loss of $717.5 million, the company reported in August. The original lawsuit had sought to remove him both as chairman and as CEO.

The SEC said Musk's statements on Twitter were "false and misleading" and that he had never discussed the plans with company officials or potential funders.

The agreement eases pressure on Tesla's embattled CEO, who faced potentially being barred from serving as an officer or board member of a publicly traded company as a result of the charges, which stemmed from a tweet by Musk about taking the company private. He concluded the post saying that the "proposal to go private would ultimately be finalized through a vote of our shareholders". Despite Friday's plunge, though, Musk seemed to be in light spirits on Friday, expressing his gratitude to the Tesla community and even posting a "Don't Panic" message on Twitter.

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