Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla and the world’s richest person, is set to collect a $23bn bonus after the electric car company’s record quarterly profits in Q1.
Musk, who is already sitting on an estimated $249bn fortune, is in line for the bonus share payout after Tesla hit share price and financial growth milestones in its earnings.
Tesla made an adjusted profit of $5bn on revenue of $18.8bn in the first quarter of the year, an 81% increase on the same period a year earlier. The results, combined with the growth in Tesla’s share price performance, mean Musk has hit targets that should lead to a bonus share payout worth about $23bn this year.
The company outlined an extraordinary deal for Musk in 2018 that would pay him an unprecedented record $55.8bn (£40bn) bonus if he built the business into a $650bn company within a decade.
Musk, who is attempting to buy Twitter for more than $43bn, said he was not in talks with Tesla’s board over a new bonus scheme after completing the 2018 deal early. “There are no discussions under way about incremental compensation for me,” he said on the company’s earning call with investors.
Julia Davies, a member of Patriotic Millionaires UK, a group of super-rich people campaigning for a more equal society, said Musk’s mega payday was “a perfect answer to the question: ‘When does a person have too much money?’
“What can one human possibly need with a bonus of $23bn? It’s time we gave big money a meaning, instead of allowing it to be just a number attached to a person. How many millions of people could be lifted out of current fuel poverty, through energy efficiency and renewable installations, with that bonus – instead of giving one man an even greater fortune to play God with?”
While Elon Musk is waiting for his bonus, he sent an internal email to Tesla managers. He asked them to freeze hiring and cut 10% of the salaried staff at Tesla because he has a “super bad feeling” about the state of the economy.
Tesla currently has about 5,000 job openings advertised worldwide, and 100,000 employees. The email was sent to Tesla executives late on Thursday last week with the subject line “pause all hiring worldwide”, and comes days after Musk ordered all employees to return to the office for at least 40 hours a week or face immediate termination.
So far, there has been no fall in demand for Tesla cars and other electric vehicles. The usual indicators of a downturn – including increasing dealer inventories and incentives in the US – have not materialised.
Many people are now wondering if it is fair for Elon Musk to receive another $23bn bonus while 10% of salaried staff at Tesla lose their jobs.
What do you think?