Elon Musk once tried to poach Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg to lighten his 'excruciating' workload at Tesla

GettySheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook.
  • Elon Musk once tried to poach Sheryl Sandberg to be his Telsa deputy and chief operating officer, he told The New York Times in a new interview.
  • The carmaker approached Sandberg two years ago, but the Facebook COO presumably declined.
  • Tesla wants to lighten Musk’s workload, and sources told the Times that the hunt for a number two has intensified as Musk’s behaviour has become increasingly erratic in 2018.

Elon Musk revealed that Tesla once tried to poach Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to be his deputy.

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.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the Times said Tesla has been on the hunt for a number two for Musk for years. The hope is that the right candidate could hoover up some of his day-to-day responsibilities running the firm.

Musk said the carmaker approached Sandberg two years ago for the Tesla COO position. The Times article does not elaborate on this, but given Sandberg is still at Facebook, it’s safe to say she ended up declining the offer.

Musk did say, however, that “to the best of my knowledge,” there is no “active search” for a deputy. The Times’ sources appeared to contradict this, saying that the search has intensified as Musk’s behaviour has become increasingly erratic in 2018.

After Musk, the next most senior managers at Tesla are Chief Technical Officer JB Straubel, and Deepak Ahuja, the company’s chief financial officer.

Attracting a candidate of Sandberg’s calibre will not come cheap.An analysis by Axios last month showed that Sandberg is among Silicon Valley’s elite when it comes to earnings, taking home more than $US100 million in compensation last year.

Musk said he has found 2018 “excruciating.” He told the Times that he has been working 120-hour weeks recently as Tesla races to meet its production targets. Musk added that he has not taken a vacation of more than a week since being confined to his bed with malaria in 2001.

More from Musk’s New York Times interview:

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