Tesla's board is reportedly conducting a serious search for a COO — but Elon Musk says he doesn't know about it

  • The New York Times is reporting, as part of a wide-raging interview, that Tesla‘s board is currently searching for a new executive under CEO and chairman Elon Musk.
  • Members of Tesla’s board of directors are reportedly concerned about his use of drugs like the sleep aid Ambien.
  • Musk claimed to have no knowledge of the search when asked by the NYT, but told the paper: “Is there someone who can do the job better? They can have the reins right now.”

Tesla is reportedly looking for some help to aid its embattled CEO and chairman.

CEO Elon Musk has been the focus of derision and criticism most recently from investors, Wall Street, analysts, and the press for his “funding secured” tweet stating he intended to take Tesla private.

And now some members of Tesla’s board of directors are getting worried, according to the New York Times. A search taken up by the board for what the paper is calling a “number 2 executive” started some time ago and “intensified” after Elon’s famous tweet, according to the paper.

The role is described as one that might be able to take some of the pressure off Musk. In the interview the executive describes not leaving the Tesla factory for days at a time, a 120 hour work week, almost missing his brother’s wedding, and not taking a break for longer than a week since 2001.

“This past year has been the most difficult and painful year of my career,” Musk said in the interview. “It was excruciating.”

What “number 2” is not clear from the report, but could take the form of a chief operating officer to handle day-to-day operations at the company. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg was offered the position a few years ago, the Times says, but turned it down.


(If you’re a Tesla employee with a story to share, contact this reporter at [email protected].)

Musk told the paper he has no plans to relinquish his roles of both CEO and chairman at the company. He also denied to the Times any search happening right now “to the best of [his] knowledge.”

But the paper reports that some on the board are uncomfortable with Musk’s use of drugs, particularly sleep aid Ambien, which could lead to late-night erratic tweeting.

Musk remains confident in his ability to lead the electric car company.

“If you have anyone who can do a better job, please let me know,” he told the Times. “They can have the job. Is there someone who can do the job better? They can have the reins right now.”

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment, but told the Times: “There have been many false and irresponsible rumours in the press about the discussions of the Tesla board. We would like to make clear that Elon’s commitment and dedication to Tesla is obvious.”

Read the full New York Times story.

More from Musk’s New York Times interview:

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