Tesla: $55B Pay Deal to Keep Musk 'Engaged'

    Photo: Bloomberg/Getty Images [via NBC News]

    The Facts

    • On Tuesday, the head of Tesla's board of directors, Robyn Denholm, testified in a trial challenging a $55B compensation plan for CEO Elon Musk. Denholm said she was focused on the results Musk could deliver, not how much time he would commit to Tesla.

    • It comes after board member Ira Ehrenpreis took the stand on Monday, where he stated that the largest executive-pay package in US corporate history was determined by the board to keep Musk "engaged" in the company.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    This compensation plan is clearly excessive. Musk has benefited from his influence over the board's committee — which has falsely claimed that it has no conflicts of interest — and been rewarded for his part-time management role at Tesla, largely on the grounds of milestones that had already been achieved when shareholders voted.

    Narrative B

    This compensation plan has granted Elon Musk his fair share of Tesla's success, especially considering he took a high risk to receive a high reward. Though Tesla skeptics ridiculed his decision at the time, Musk's management has led the carmaker to increase its value from $59B to $600B, achieving almost all his stipulated performance targets.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 47% chance that Elon Musk will be the richest person in the world on December 31, 2025, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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