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Musk: I Lost Money Running Tesla In 2018

Refuting reports that he had made more than US$2 billion in compensation from Tesla last year, Elon Musk said on Twitter on Wednesday that Tesla was “actually net negative comp for me.”

The New York Times reported last week rankings compiled by executive compensation consulting firm Equilar, which showed that Elon Musk was the highest-paid CEO of 2018.  

“The pay package Tesla promised to Elon Musk was so large, we had to add an extra dimension to the chart below to display it accurately,” the Times said, showing a chart that Musk made nearly US$2.3 billion in 2018, mostly from options.

According to the chart, Musk made more than the next 65 CEOs on the list combined.

Early last year, Tesla said that Musk’s compensation as CEO for the next 10 years would be contingent on the electric vehicle maker achieving ambitious performance targets, including raising its market capitalization by nearly US$600 billion.

“Elon will receive no guaranteed compensation of any kind - no salary, no cash bonuses, and no equity that vests simply by the passage of time. Instead, Elon’s only compensation will be a 100% at-risk performance award, which ensures that he will be compensated only if Tesla and all of its shareholders do extraordinarily well,” the EV maker said.

Referring to the reported compensation for 2018, Musk replied to a Twitter user on Wednesday “Yeah, the fear, uncertainty & doubt propaganda campaign being pushed by those betting against Tesla has reached new heights.”

After the NYT report, a Tesla spokesperson wrote in a statement to Business Insider:

“Elon actually earned $0 in total compensation from Tesla in 2018, and any reporting otherwise is incorrect and misleading. Unlike other CEOs, Elon receives no salary, no cash bonuses, and no equity that simply vests by the passage of time.”

Related: The No.1 Reason Why Investors Are Shunning Energy Stocks

Over the past few days, a number of analysts have expressed doubts about Tesla’s ability to deliver on sales and financial performance and not burn all the cash it has. Wedbush Securities warned that Tesla faces a “Kilimanjaro-like uphill climb” and a “Herculean task” in achieving its targets.

Morgan Stanley slashed its ‘worst-case’ Tesla share price target to just US$10 from US$97 in case the U.S.-China trade war hits the EV maker and dampens significantly demand for its cars on the Chinese market. Citigroup also has a shocking ‘full bear’ scenario for Tesla, seeing a 40-percent chance of Tesla’s stock plunging to $36, up from a 35-percent chance previously.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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