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Elon Musk promises Tesla investors Trump won't send him to Mars

I expect to remain with Tesla forever... and ever, and ever

By Kat Hall, 23 Feb 2017

Amid larger than expected losses at Tesla, founder Elon Musk promised he would not be diverted by a mission to Mars and intended to stay at the company "forever".

During an investor call Musk was asked if numerous reports suggesting the Trump administration is in favour of accelerating a mission to send humans to Mars could mean a rebalancing of his time between Tesla and SpaceX.

Adam Michael Jonas, analyst at Morgan Stanley, said: "Could it potentially change the rationale of keeping Tesla and SpaceX as independent companies? And this is a serious question, Elon."

Musk said: "I expect to remain with Tesla essentially forever, unless somebody kicks me out. So that remains my intention. And I have been pursuing the Mars thing at SpaceX and sustainable energy at Tesla for a long time, simultaneously."

He said he "certainly didn't think" he was going to change his actions as a result of an initiative by Trump's administration.

"Although I think a Mars mission would be amazing and really energise the public, domestically and worldwide, just as the Apollo mission to the Moon did almost half a century ago. So, yes, that's probably the most I can say about that, yes."

Loss per share for the fourth quarter was 69 cents, versus 43 cents expected by a Thomson Reuters consensus forecast. However, revenue for the quarter was $2.28bn, up from the $2.19bn predicted by Thomson Reuters.

Tesla's chief financial officer Jason Wheeler is standing down from the company and will be replaced by Deepak Ahuja.

He said: "It's been a great ride and I'm really going to miss working with all the wonderful people at Tesla. This is an A team and when I walked in the door, I was very passionate about the mission of the company. And today, I'm even more passionate than I was on the day I walked in."

Wheeler said he is "scratching an itch" he's had for a while and moving to the public sector. ®

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