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Tesla shares down 8 percent after Musk's freakish interview

19 August 2018

The Tesla boss told the New York Times that the year "has been the most hard and painful year of my career".

What do you do when your CEO confesses that he's cracking under the stress of his job?

Members of Tesla's board of directors are reportedly concerned about his use of drugs like the sleep aid Ambien. The last time he was off the clock for more than a week.

Yet he told the newspaper that he has no plans to give up his dual role as Tesla's chairman and CEO.

'This has really come at the expense of seeing my kids. "They can have the job", Musk was quoted as saying.

'Is there someone who can do the job better? Tesla's cars are wildly popular and the world would miss them if the shorts prove right.

In an emotional interview that raised questions over the billionaire's health, Musk insisted he was "not on weed" when he tweeted plans to take the company private. "I wish there was a way to get nutrients without sitting down for a meal". Last year, the company only made 2,700 Model 3s, compared with 20,000 predicted by Musk last year. As of Friday afternoon, Tesla's shares were trading at around $305, down more than 9 percent for the day.

The board has stood behind Mr Musk despite some freaky behaviour.

But Erik Gordon, a University of MI business and law professor, said the board has a duty to shareholders. He suggested replacing Mr Musk as CEO and keeping him on as a visionary chief technical officer.

"It seemed like better karma at $420 than at $419", he told the NYT.

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As Tesla struggled to meet production goals for its Model 3 earlier this year, Musk ended up sleeping at the factory.

While Musk has described himself as "half Democrat, half Republican" in the past, critics said it was hypocritical of a green energy CEO to donate almost $40,000 to the GOP. Instead, he or she would form a team to work overnight and solve problems.

Musk, 47, has a reputation for being an eccentric visionary.

Short selling involves borrowing shares in a company and selling them in the hope of buying them back later at a lower price when the firm's fortunes falter.

In June, Musk caused outrage when he responded to a tweet from a woman who claimed Musk had used her father's unicorn artwork on Tesla merchandise without compensation or attribution, by telling her: "He can sue for money if he wants, but that's kinda lame".

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. He referred to potential investment by the Saudi Arabian government's investment fund. 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. Musk told the publication, "This past year has been the most hard and painful year of my career".

Musk has cited his long-running vendetta with short-sellers, who are betting that Tesla's stock will go down, as well as Wall Street's short-term focus on quarterly earnings, as reasons to take the company private.

As a legal matter, Musk faces liability only if his statements were intentionally false or reckless. In the interview the executive describes not leaving the Tesla factory for days at a time, a 120 hour work week, nearly missing his brother's wedding, and not taking a break for longer than a week since 2001.

On the tweet where Musk said he was considering taking Tesla private, which is now being investigated by the SEC, he said it was an attempt at transparency.

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

Tesla shares down 8 percent after Musk's freakish interview