Despite serving as chief executive at the world’s most valuable automaker Tesla, second-largest private company SpaceX and one of the largest social media platforms Twitter, the planet’s wealthiest man Elon Musk played coy about his C-suite ambitions Wednesday as part of a trial examining his controversial 2018 incentive-based pay package from Tesla.
Musk pulls up to the Delaware courtroom in the back of a Tesla sedan.
Testifying in Delaware’s Chancery Court, Musk was defending his $55 billion Tesla compensation amid allegations from shareholders that he didn’t dedicate his whole attention to the company and that he helped set easily attainable performance targets.
Ira Ehrenpreis, a former Tesla board member, testified Monday the package was designed to keep Musk “engaged” and to keep the billionaire the “head of Tesla for a long time.”
But Musk’s head has turned this year, with Musk taking over Twitter and spending “morning til’ night” reworking the platform to his whims.
Musk, who earlier said he didn’t “want to be CEO of any company,” outlined a way to go back to being CEOs of only two companies in later testimony, stating “I expect to reduce my time at Twitter and find somebody else to run Twitter over time.”
$4.3 billion. That’s how much the final tranche of Musk’s Tesla compensation package was worth as of Tuesday’s close.
We estimate Musk to be worth $196 billion, by far the largest fortune in the world. About two-thirds of his net worth is tied to Tesla stock and options.
“Comedy is legal,” Musk said while cross-examined about his 2021 assertion that CEO is a “made-up title” and he prefers to go by “technoking” instead. The comedy quip is an allusion to his viral tweet, “Comedy is now legal on Twitter,” last month following the completion of his takeover.
The judge presiding over this case, Kathaleen McCormick, is the same judge who oversaw Twitter’s lawsuit against Musk looking to push through his $44 billion acquisition of the social media firm. That case ultimately never went to trial after Musk agreed last month to close the deal at the original agreement of $54.20 per share.
Behind The Billions: Elon Musk (Forbes)