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Tesla shareholders vote on Elon Musk's ambitious pay package

22 March, 2018, 02:29 | Author: Shawna Walton
  • Elon Musk founder CEO of SpaceX and CEO of Tesla Inc. speaks at a news conference after the Falcon 9 SpaceX heavy rocket launched successfully from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral Fla. Shareho

The award, worth $2.6 billion is at current valuations, will increase if Musk manages to clear 12 hurdles along the way to a $650 billion valuation - a lot of them in $50 billion increments. Its shares have fallen almost 12 per cent since the pay plan was announced. Also, Musk can not sell his stock until five years after the deal, which should theoretically dissuade him from artificially inflating Tesla's stock price in order to cash out quickly.

Shares of Tesla are down 18 percent from a year high reached in September.

Shareholders of electric vehicle and solar panel maker Tesla are voting on a pay package for iconic CEO Elon Musk that could net him more than $50 billion for meeting lofty milestones over the next decade. Still, Musk will reap gains only if shareholders do, too.

The proposed plan to pay the outspoken chief executive is tied to Tesla's future success, but it has become controversial in the lead up to the vote-and could make Musk insanely rich if Tesla transforms into a mega-cap giant on par with the likes of Facebook FB.

In 2016, Musk said he was working so hard, he kept a sleeping bag in a conference room adjacent to Tesla's production line in Fremont. That's already $44 billion more than the current net worth of Jeff Bezos, who is the wealthiest man on the planet, and that's not taking into account Musk's stake in his rocket company, SpaceX.

Tesla has said in regulatory filings that Musk's award could yield him more than $50 billion if all goals are achieved.

The company has been burning through cash and expects spending to rise this year, even as a host of upcoming projects demand attention and capital, including the new Tesla Semi and the Model Y crossover.

Under the 10-year performance-based plan, Musk will receive no guaranteed compensation of any kind-no salary, no cash bonuses and no equity that vests with time alone.

Large shareholders Baillie Gifford & Co. and T. Rowe Price Group Inc. signaled ahead of the vote that they would probably support the package.

Tencent Holdings Ltd. were not immediately available to comment.

Patterned after Elon Musk's 5-year performance award back in 2012, the new 10-year plan requires several breakthroughs for Tesla before the serial tech entrepreneur would be compensated.

California State Teachers' Retirement System, the second-largest pension fund in the US, said it did not support the plan, citing concerns about potential dilution and an absence of profitability goals.

"Given the size of the award, we believe the potential dilution to shareholders is just too great", CalSTRS's Director of Corporate Governance, Anne Sheehan, told Reuters .

Ross Gerber, CEO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management in Santa Monica, California, which holds Tesla shares, said he voted yes.

And there's a big kicker: If Musk fails to hit the goals laid out in his pay package, Tesla won't pay him at all. "The true shareholders of Tesla are all in on Elon".

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