Musk tak­ing strain af­ter an ‘excruciating year’ as Tesla chief

Pretoria News Weekend - - NEWS -

ELEC­TRIC car maker Tesla’s chief ex­ec­u­tive Elon Musk has ad­mit­ted to The New York Times that stress is tak­ing a heavy toll on him in what he calls an “excruciating” year.

The news­pa­per said Musk al­ter­nated be­tween laugh­ter and tears dur­ing the in­ter­view in which he said he was work­ing up to 120 hours a week and some­times takes Am­bien to get to sleep.

“This past year has been the most dif­fi­cult and painful year of my ca­reer,” he said. “It was excruciating.” The in­ter­view pub­lished yes­ter­day of­fered rare in­sights into Musk’s per­sonal life and think­ing. He stood by his tweet last week say­ing he might take Tesla pri­vate and that he had se­cured the fund­ing to do so.

Asked if he re­gret­ted it, he said, ‘’Why would I?’’

Musk has a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing an ec­cen­tric vi­sion­ary. But his out-ofthe-blue an­nounce­ment of a po­ten­tial $72 bil­lion (R1 tril­lion) buy­out of the pub­licly held com­pany raised a huge ruckus and pushed Tesla’s shares up 11% in a day, rais­ing the com­pany’s value by $6bn.

They’ve fallen back but re­main el­e­vated.

The Wall Street Jour­nal re­ported that govern­ment reg­u­la­tors had sub­poe­naed Tesla as they dig deeper into his dis­clo­sure of the po­ten­tial buy­out.

That sig­nals reg­u­la­tors are in­ves­ti­gat­ing if Musk was truth­ful in the tweet about hav­ing the fi­nanc­ing set for a deal that an­a­lysts have es­ti­mated would re­quire $25bn to $50bn.

The com­pany did not com­ment on that re­port, but it did say it was form­ing a spe­cial com­mit­tee to eval­u­ate pro­pos­als to take the com­pany pri­vate.

The New York Times said that in re­sponse to ques­tions for its ar­ti­cle on the in­ter­view, Tesla is­sued a state­ment from its board, ex­clud­ing Musk, that said: “We would like to make it clear that Elon’s com­mit­ment and ded­i­ca­tion to Tesla is ob­vi­ous.”

In the in­ter­view with The New York Times, Musk said he fired off the tweet while on his way to the air­port.

He said his ref­er­ence to hav­ing se­cured fund­ing re­ferred to a po­ten­tial in­vest­ment by Saudi Ara­bia’s govern­ment in­vest­ment fund.

Musk, 47, said that some­times he did not leave the Tesla fac­tory for three or four days straight, and that he had not taken off more than a week at a time since he was sick with malaria in 2001.

Musk’s so­cial me­dia an­tics have raised eye­brows as he be­rated an­a­lysts and falsely ac­cused a cave diver of be­ing a pae­dophile af­ter the man was scep­ti­cal about a mini-sub­ma­rine that Musk sent to pos­si­bly help res­cue young soc­cer play­ers from a flooded cave in Thai­land.

He later apol­o­gised for that re­mark.

The re­port cited peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the sit­u­a­tion as say­ing Tesla has been try­ing to find an­other top level ex­ec­u­tive to help re­lieve some of the pres­sure on Musk, who has said he did not in­tend to give up his roles as chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive but that if there was some­one who could do the job bet­ter, ‘’they can have the reins right now’’.

In a sep­a­rate re­port, The Wall Street Jour­nal said se­cu­ri­ties reg­u­la­tors had been in­ves­ti­gat­ing if Tesla mis­led in­vestors about pro­duc­tion prob­lems for its Model 3 car.

The com­pany could face sanc­tions if reg­u­la­tors find it mis­led in­vestors about pro­duc­tion de­lays. – AP/African News Agency (ANA)

PIC­TURE: JOE SKIP­PER/REUTERS/AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA)

SpaceX founder Elon Musk .

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