Tesla shares fall as CEO admits job stress is getting to him

Lloyd Doyle
August 19, 2018

Aug 2: Mr Musk tells Tesla's board he wants to go private at $420 a share. Is there someone who can do the job better?

"It is often a choice of no sleep or Ambien", he said, referring to an insomnia medication.

Entrepreneur Elon Musk has acknowledged exhaustion from overwork, as he deals with a reported probe by regulators into a plan divulged on Twitter to take his auto company Tesla private.

Efforts are also under way to recruit an executive to take some pressure off Musk, the newspaper said, citing people briefed on the search. In the interview, he calls the past year "excruciating" and "the most hard and painful year of my career" while also acknowledging that he often relies on Ambien to help him sleep. So far, these damaging allegations have resulted in Tesla being subpoenaed by government regulators and hit with two class-action lawsuits from investors who contend that the tweets violated federal securities laws. "They can have the reins right now", stated Musk.

The company said the board formed a special committee to evaluate proposals to take the company private. The interview did not cover the multiple rounds of Tesla layoffs, workers that could have presumably helped Musk shoulder the load.

But Erik Gordon, a University of MI business and law professor, said Tesla's board had a fiduciary duty to shareholders to take action.

Mr Musk spent nights at Tesla's Fremont, California, factory working out production problems on its new Model 3 vehicle that is supposed to take Tesla from niche luxury carmaker to a mass producer that competes with Detroit.

All of this prompted Times columnist Kara Swisher to ask: "Is Elon Musk Crazy?"

He told the newspaper that friends are concerned about his well-being and, the New York Times said, he choked up several times during the interview.

Musk's comments suggest the events are taking an enormous physical and psychological toll. "If you have anyone who can do a better job, please let me know", Musk told the Times, adding: "They can have the job".

Ross Gerber, another vocal supporter of Musk, called on Tesla's board to protect Musk.

Lawyers have warned that his tweet may have broken 14e-8 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which prohibits publicly traded companies from announcing plans to buy or sell securities if executives don't intend to complete, don't have the means to complete, or are trying to manipulate the stock price.

The most substantial liability Musk may have incurred is paying damages to investors - in particular, short-sellers.

Musk explained that with an estimated premium over recent values, the share price should be around $419. "Weed is not helpful for productivity", he told the Times.

While 420 is a number that is usually connected to the marijuana counterculture, Musk denies using the drug, "But I was not on weed, to be clear". He flew directly from the Gigafactory to his brother Kimbal's wedding in Catalonia, where was to be best man, arriving two hours before the ceremony, and returned immediately to Tesla headquarters afterward.

"Everyone is reacting to the interview that Musk gave, where it seemed like he was an exhausted, frustrated individual", said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel, which does not own Tesla shares.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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