On a Monday last month in a Delaware court, Elon Musk, facing yet another lawsuit by shareholders critical of how he has run Tesla, bemoaned that he “rather hates” being C.E.O. He’d be more content focused on engineering or designing electric cars.

The 50-year-old industrialist is nothing if not mercurial and contradictory. He may not like the boring parts of the chief executive’s job, but make no mistake: he sure as hell wants to control his company.