…or he could go home with nothing for 10 years’ work.


Tesla has put together a highly ambitious incentive scheme for their founder and chief executive. He could become the world’s richest person, taking home shares worth around a jaw-dropping $55bn – but only if he manages to make the company a $650bn business within the next decade.

The award scheme is organised in 12 levels. When Tesla hits each of the 12 targets, which are based on revenue and market capitalisation, Musk will collect compensation in the form of company shares. If successful in hitting each of these targets, Musk could own nearly 30% of the company’s shares in a decade. This would easily put him at the top of the world’s rich list. To put into perspective quite how ambitious this award scheme is, Tesla will have to be worth 10x what it is today ($59) for Musk to claim the maximum payout.

Tesla’s Board of Directors wrote to their fellow stockholders: “As Tesla continues to grow, we have created a new 10-year performance award for Elon that incentivizes him not only to continue to lead Tesla over the long-term, but to help the company achieve these great goals.” The statement lays out the premise of the award as “simple”: “Elon’s compensation will be 100% aligned with the interests of our stockholders” and he is not guaranteed any compensation at all unless “Tesla and all our stockholders do extraordinarily well”.

This payment plan is largely based on Tesla’s previous incentive-based scheme for Musk. The shareholders will vote on the proposals in March. Musk will recuse himself from the vote, as will his brother Kimbal, who is the company’s third-biggest shareholder. The plan is also designed to end speculation that Musk might leave the company to focus on one of his other projects, such as SpaceX. This new scheme locks him in as CEO, executive chairman and chief product officer at Tesla for the next 10 years.


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