Tesla CEO Elon Musk says this year has been “the most difficult and painful” of his career as he fends off controversy over a tweet about a plan to take the company private.
In an interview with The New York Times, Musk said 2018 has been “excruciating for him,” acknowledging efforts to ensure Tesla is meeting its production targets have taken a physical toll.
“It’s not been great, actually,” Musk told the Times. “I’ve had friends come by who are really concerned.”
On August 7, Musk tweeted he was considering a proposal to take Tesla private at $420 a share, adding funding for the deal had been secured.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has reportedly talked to Musk about the tweet. Meanwhile, two lawsuits have been filed in federal court in San Francisco, alleging the post was part of a plan to manipulate Tesla’s stock price.
Musk told the Times no one reviewed the tweet before he published it, and said he was attempting to be transparent.
Some board members are angry about the move, weighing whether to add a second-in-command at Tesla to take the pressure off Musk, over concerns about his workload and use of Ambien, the Times reported.
Shares of Tesla dropped 6 percent following reports of a widening SEC probe and amid questions of CEO Musk’s ability to run company.
Musk told the Times there is currently no “active search” for a No. 2 executive at the company, although a couple years ago, Musk approached Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg about the position.
The controversy over the August 7 tweet is among several Musk, who also runs the aerospace company SpaceX, has weathered this year. During a conference call earlier this year, he got testy with analysts over a perceived cash crunch at Tesla, scolding them for “boring questions.”
In July, Musk got into a dustup on Twitter with a British diver who helped rescue a Thailand soccer team and their coach from a cave, referring to him in one tweet as a “pedo guy.”
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