Tesla's Musk says stress, overwork taking heavy toll

Daniel Fowler
August 18, 2018

Musk admitted in a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times that stress is taking a heavy toll in what he calls an "excruciating year".

The founder of the electric vehicle manufacturer, who oversees other ambitious companies like SpaceX and The Boring Company, spoke of the deterioration in his physical health and the overwork which almost caused him to miss his brother's wedding.

Musk, in a revealing interview, said he has been working up to 120 hours a week and needs Ambien to fall asleep at night.

'Is there someone who can do the job better?

For everyone keeping score, Elon's recent troubles - majority of his own making - having included blasting a rescue cave diver as a "pedo guy" on Twitter; dismissing analyst questions during an earnings call as "boneheaded"; and the seemingly ill-thought out privatization tweet, to name a few. Musk says that he came to this figure after deciding he wanted to offer a 20 percent premium on current stock prices which would have come out around $419, a number Musk rounded up to $420. According to The Journal's reporting, the securities regulator is probing whether the Tesla misled investors about the Model 3's production status. "I've had friends come by who are really concerned", Musk told The Times.

The New York Times cited people familiar with the situation as saying the board had been trying to find a No. 2 executive to help relieve some of the pressure on Mr Musk.

But Musk, who is also the boss of rocket company SpaceX and other ventures, said he has no plans to leave the CEO and chairman roles at Tesla.

Critics point out Tesla is burning through cash as it tries to ramp up Model 3 production after a series of delays.

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And [Daniels] suddenly thought, "I can't commit to this situation [CBB]". "She says she is furious and wants to be sat here". Moore, who spoke to Daniels off-camera and took a photograph with her, told viewers: "This is her side of the story".

The going-private tweet has set off a firestorm, causing the stock to jump but also prompting mounting scrutiny, including a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation.

"I thought the worst of it was over - I thought it was", he said.

"While this may be a governance issue it would be a very disappointing company issue because Elon Musk's vision and personality is so intertwined in the company".

The most disastrous recent tweet came last week when Musk announced out of nowhere that he is "considering taking Tesla private at $420 [$AU578]".

The link between public perceptions of the tech billionaire's mental state and the financial state of his publicly traded company was evident today, in the wake of a New York Times interview that quoted Musk as acknowledging he was fraying. In recent months, the Tesla CEO has found himself splashed across headlines for everything from claims he tweeted on acid and prevented Tesla staff from unionizing to accusations that Tesla stole farting unicorn artwork.

Before taking a private jet to Nevada from his home in Los Angeles, Mr Musk tweeted: "Am considering taking Tesla private at $420".

While he acknowledged that no one read the post before he sent it, Musk said he did not regret it - "Why would I?" - and that he would not stop using Twitter. Cumulatively, short-sellers lost $1.3 billion on August 7 following Musk's tweet. Tesla's cars are wildly popular and the world would miss them if the shorts prove right.

On Twitter, Musk has frequently complained about short sellers and taunted them. Nearly a week later, the chief executive said the basis for that statement was conversations with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, which first expressed interest in helping take the company private in early 2017.

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