Billionaire Elon Musk Earned A $0 Salary From Tesla Last Year

Billionaire Elon Musk Earned A $0 Salary From Tesla Last Year
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Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk made a total of zero dollars in income from the electric vehicle giant in 2020.

According to an updated SEC filing released on Friday, Musk did not make a cent in income from Tesla in 2020, down from $32,296 in 2019 (which was California’s minimum wage at the time) and $76,843 the year before.

But don’t be mistaken, this doesn’t mean he’s working for free. Instead, Musk agreed to take a stock-based compensation package as part of his 2018 agreement. As part of the agreement, Musk is able to buy a maximum of 101 million shares at a price of $US70.01 each, compared to the $US686.17 price tag we pay for a share. This was announced by Tesla in 2019 and officially began last year.

“However, he has never accepted his salary,” the company said. “Commencing in May 2019 at Mr. Musk’s request, we eliminated altogether the earning and accrual of this base salary.”

Musk did, however, receive stock options throughout the year, which now have a value of approximately $30 billion, so he’s not exactly poor here.

The agreement is valid for 10 years and requires the company to hit at least 12 out of 16 operational targets and hit a market cap of $US650 billion. To date, the company has already hit 6 of the targets and has far exceeded the market cap goal (as of Friday, the market cap sat at $US704.81 billion).

So far in 2021 the company has hit two more of the targets, which means Musk qualifies for an additional 16.9 million stock options. For those playing along at home, that’s a quiet value of $14.86 billion at today’s Tesla prices.

However, it’s worth noting that Musk almost never sells his shares and instead uses them as collateral for loans he has taken out as a result of his lack of cash salaries.

Meanwhile, the SEC filing also announced that Tesla finance chief — also known as ‘Master of Coin’ — Zachary Kirkhorn received a whopping $63.51 million in compensation last year, up from $28.89 the year before. So at least somebody is rolling around in a pile of that sweet Tesla cash.