Published: Mon, August 20, 2018
Money | By Ethel Goodwin

Elon Musk work ethic: 120 hour workweeks and sleeping on factory floor

Elon Musk work ethic: 120 hour workweeks and sleeping on factory floor

The CEO of the electric vehicle company Tesla and the private aerospace company SpaceX recently conducted an hourlong phone interview with journalists at the New York Times, and he talked about his August 7 tweet in which he declared that he was "considering taking Tesla private".

Musk made the claim in a brutally honest New York Times interview, in which he opened up about the 120-hour weeks he puts in at Tesla, which are taking a toll on his mental and physical well-being.

Investors must have gotten unnerved.

Musk stunned investors and sent Tesla's shares soaring 11 percent when he tweeted early last week that he was considering taking Tesla private at $420 per share and that he had secured funding for the potential deal.

To add to Musk's troubles, his rash tweets - that even surprised the company's board and made stocks go insane before they were frozen - landed him in hot water with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which is formally investigating whether Musk manipulated markets illegally.

Tesla and SpaceX did not respond when Reuters requested comment on the matter. "They can have the reins right now", he said.

"I wish we could be private with Tesla", Musk said in an interview with Rolling Stone published in November.

After all these though, Musk says he does not regret the tweet.

But the paper said he later told them through a spokesperson that Antonio Gracias, Tesla's lead independent director, had in fact contacted him to discuss the Twitter post. "I was not on weed (while tweeting), to be clear", he said. It claims the board is aware that he uses "recreational drugs" and Musk himself admits to frequently relying on Ambien to sleep.

Musk said there were times he didn't leave the factory for three or four days at a time and days when he didn't go outside. During a conference call earlier this year, he got testy with analysts over a perceived cash crunch at Tesla, scolding them for "boring questions".

Taken unawares, the firm's board said this week that it has formed a special committee to consider going private. It later disclosed that Mr Musk had talked with the Saudi Arabia Government investment fund about the deal.

Tesla's board showed no sign of taking any action Friday.

Shares lost 13 percent over the previous year and have been especially pummeled in the last week.

According to The Journal's reporting, the securities regulator is probing whether the Tesla misled investors about the Model 3's production status.

Aug 15: Tesla is said to have received a subpoena from the SEC. But much of it comes from Musk's own pronouncements, such as lofty goals for production of cars or turning a sustained profit starting this quarter, that might be beyond reach.

Tesla wants to lighten Musk's workload, and sources told the Times that the hunt for a number two has intensified as Musk's behavior has become increasingly erratic in 2018. Tesla bulls are counting on Musk to exponentially raise production, leading to long-term profits.

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