Tesla shares fell hard Friday after chief executive Elon Musk’s comments about his struggles with exhaustion as he works to ramp up production for the electric automaker and a lengthy but unsuccessful effort to find a number two executive.
In late morning trade, Tesla shares skidded 7.8 percent to $309.36 following the release of the wide-ranging interview in The New York Times.
Musk opened up to the newspaper about the personal toll he says he has endured, working marathon hours trying to ensure that production deadlines are met.
“There were times when I didn’t leave the factory for three or four days — days when I didn’t go outside,” Musk said.
“This past year has been the most difficult and painful year of my career. It was excruciating.”
Musk also revealed he needed to take prescription medication to sleep during the latest ordeals, and disclosed he had approached Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg about becoming his number two at Tesla.
The brash South African-born entrepreneur also sought to explain his tweet earlier this month about taking Tesla private, which has drawn scrutiny from regulators.
He explained that the August 7 tweet claiming assurance that funding for going private was secured was an attempt to be transparent, even though it surprised his own board and provoked questions from analysts about whether it violated stock market regulations.
He and other board members are preparing to meet with Securities and Exchange Commission officials as early as next week, the Times said.
Musk acknowledged that no one read his Twitter post before he sent it, but said he did not regret it.
“Why would I?” he said.
Musk, who envisions sending tourists to the Moon with his private firm SpaceX and has unveiled ambitious plans for high-speed trains and other projects, is recognised as one of the most influential innovators in the United States.