Tesla said to seek number 2 exec as Musk’s behavior angers board

Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images

Tesla is said to be looking for a COO or other number 2 executive to work directly under Elon Musk following concerns over the CEO’s recent erratic behavior, according to a report in The New York Times. Musk told the Times in an interview that Tesla approached Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg about the job two years ago, but says “there is no active search right now” as far as he’s aware.

The Times’ sources say otherwise. Some board members are reportedly “angered” over Musk’s recent chaotic exploits on Twitter in particular, from the seemingly spontaneous announcement of a plan to take Tesla private to the ugly public spats with analysts and cave divers. The board is also said to be concerned with Musk’s spiraling workload and use of Ambien, and is seeking to “help take some of the pressure off” him with the new hire.

Musk tells the Times that he’s been working up to 120-hour weeks, sometimes not leaving a factory for three or four days at a time. He identifies short-selling investors as the source of much of his stress, accusing them of “desperately pushing a narrative that will possibly result in Tesla’s destruction.” He says he takes Ambien to help him sleep — “It is often a choice of no sleep or Ambien” — but some board members are worried that this is helping fuel late-night Twitter sessions.

Musk says he has no plans to stop using Twitter, nor does he regret his most contentious tweet of the month. That’s this one, which was sent in the morning as he made his way to the airport and wasn’t reviewed by anyone:

As the Times notes, Nasdaq paused trading an hour and 20 minutes after the tweet with Tesla’s shares up 7 percent, and the stock finished the day with a gain of 11 percent. Funding, however, was not quite as secure as Musk made out; he says he was referring to an investment by the Saudi Arabian government, but reportedly there was no hard commitment to provide the money. Musk’s other major company, SpaceX, was also apparently considered as a way to fund the privatization.

The SEC started questioning Tesla the day after the market-shaking tweet, and has reportedly served the board and Musk with subpoenas as the investigation gathers pace. But Musk says he didn’t get any negative feedback from the board. “I don’t recall getting any communications from the board at all,” he says. “I definitely did not get calls from irate directors.”

“If you have anyone who can do a better job, please let me know,” Musk concludes in the interview. “They can have the job. Is there someone who can do the job better? They can have the reins right now.”


Makes sense to have a sensible COO around. Musk has great ideas and drive but you need someone who will see and execute that idea to its fullest, not skip around.

SpaceX has Gwynne Shotwell. Tesla needs someone similar.

Can we stop reporting on this manchild? This guy is getting annoying.

The Verge and many media outlets are part of a war on Tesla, driven by stock shorts and entrenched financial interests. Tesla supporters are also tired of it.


Or maybe the dude is losing it. Or maybe he’s not the god the geeks made him out to be. He’s like trump – no matter what he does his supporters claim conspiracy. This isn’t the Steve Jobs you’re looking for.

He certainly isn’t Jobs that’s for. The fans of Musk try to use a nexus for them two is beyond me…..Worlds apart.

I thought he was Tony Stark

Jobs made products which didn’t matter, shiny toys with good marketing. Musk has single-handedly pushed the automotive industry into EVs and made reusable rockets a reality. He may be erratic, but he is already more important than Jobs ever was. Not a blind fanboy, wish he’s act more mature and just concentrate on doing good work.

What fatuous comments!

Regarding auto companies, they will squash him up when they determine its time to do so. They have no problem to ramping up production of any type of product they want to make.

Jobs brought the technology that you probably used to write your missive to the forefront.

Jobs was not a god. But, he saw the potential of commercialized technology as a product for the masses.

Finally, Jobs’ corporation is well run, has the capital to be the most valuable corporation in the world (that can have many meanings), and has popularized many technologies that we use everyday.

Wait what??? They literally have all problems of ramping up EV production. Like every single manufacturer, who currently has a competitive EV in their lineup. Jaguar, hyundai, and so on.

Wow, you really have no clue, what you are talking about…

Jobs company also nearly went bankrupt, so… there is that.

Isn’t VW and other giant auto companies buying batteries from Tesla? Why would they do that if they can simply crush Tesla with a snap of their fingers?

No. VW, GM etc are buying batteries from LG, samsung and chinese battery makers.

and has popularized many technologies that we use everyday

Im definitely not a blind devotee of musk, but pretty sure musk has already gone a long way in conceptualizing or outright popularizing many technologies that the world will use everyday in the not too distant future.

Jobs had help, but his vision changed music, movies, computers, book publishing and mobile computing. And that is all demonstrable by the fact that his company actually makes a profit. Musk will probably get there at some point but what you wrote there is absolutely ridiculous.

Apple pretty much kicked off the whole concept of modern personal computing.

Exactly this.
From the GUI popularization to building the computer the WWW was invented one to building internet-first products, to shipping the first Wifi device, to innovating in lithium batteries, to creating the first true multitouch smartphone and related interface, this all draws a direct line to the creation of Android. (As we currently know it, according to Andy Rubin)
Android is on budget smartphones and pressured Nokia and such, thus connecting the next two billion users of the world to the internet.
In an indirect but dependent way, Jobs has effectively connected the third world to the internet, creating third world countries where banks started not he internet before existing. Now one might say it might have happened otherwise or such, maybe it would have.
But this is the way it did happen. Many of Musk’s products are dependent on Jobs even. From Apple lithium advancement to the infotainment screen being the same display as a 17 inch MacBook Pro (Google it!)

Jobs made products which didn’t matter

way to discredit your whole point

He certainly isn’t Jobs that’s for. The fans of Musk try to use a nexus for them two is beyond me…..Worlds apart.

bother to elaborate

lol type "Elon Musk" in youtube and see how many FoxBusiness videos appear. The sooner he takes this private the better.
Big Oil is getting down and dirty.

As has been said time and time again – if musk stopped shooting himself in the foot, there would be very little cannon fodder for these guys to hammer him with.

I wouldn’t go that far but after this past week it sure seems like many people want to see Tesla and Elon fail.

I honestly didn’t notice all the biased reporting until I started shopping the Model 3 as possibly my next car.

Exactly Jacob!
Big Oil, Detroit, Shorts, Journalists, Cave Divers Association… they’re all trying to destroy Tesla. Tesla, with their mighty 0.15% market share in the auto industry, threatens their future! That’s why they make up fake news like Tesla losing $8M every day, Tesla’s "production hell", Musk calling random people pedophiles…etc.

We have to stay strong and no let our faith The Chosen One be shaken by these infidels.

Cave Divers Association… they’re all trying to destroy Tesla.

I’m glad someone finally called them out. That damn CDA has been manipulating the auto industry for long enough…

So you are saying, that the media reporting on Tesla is fair? And that there are literally no smear campaigns by oil companies against Tesla? Gotcha…

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