Elon Musk’s official Tesla salary dropped to zero in 2020

Elon Musk's official Tesla salary dropped to zero in 2020

Elon Musk looking at the camera: Elon Musk in Germany on Friday. Patrick Pleul/Pool via Reuters

© Patrick Pleul/Pool via Reuters
Elon Musk in Germany on Friday. Patrick Pleul/Pool via Reuters

  • Tesla cut CEO Elon Musk’s salary to zero for 2020.
  • In 2019, the company said it eliminated altogether the earning and accrual of his base salary.
  • Musk’s official salary was listed as $23,760 in 2019 and $56,380 in 2018.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk didn’t receive a paycheck from the electric-vehicle maker in 2020.


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Musk’s 2020 salary dropped to zero, according to an update filed with the SEC on Friday.

His salary in 2019 had been $23,760. In 2018, it was $56,380.

“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.”

Under his 2018 compensation agreement, Musk’s total compensation package is stock-based. His options vest based on his ability to push the company to hit certain operating metrics.

The 10-year agreement included 16 operational milestones. If Tesla hits 12 of those milestones, and the company’s market cap hits $650 billion, Musk’s shares will vest on schedule, according to the company.

Tesla had hit six of those milestones as of Friday, the company said.

The company’s market cap surged past $650 billion in 2020. It was $704.81 billion as of Friday’s close.

In 2019, Musk paid cash for vested options that were valued at $30.5 million, but didn’t sell any of the shares bought in that transaction, according to Friday’s filing. The filing didn’t list a vested-option purchase for 2020.

Under the 2018 agreement, Musk’s exercise price was $70.01 per share, SEC filings said. Tesla stock ended the week at $716.70 per share.

“Only time I sell Tesla stock is when my stock options are expiring & I have no choice,” Musk said on Twitter in June.

Bloomberg last week estimated Musk’s total 2020 compensation to be $6.7 billion, the highest of any US chief executive.

Musk has often said he’s earmarked his Tesla stock to help humans reach Mars. When asked about his 2018 compensation plan in November, he said he “didn’t expect the stock to rise so much so soon.”

“The reason for the stock options is that they’re needed to help pay for humanity to get to Mars in 10 to 20 years,” he said on Twitter.

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