Elon Musk’s next massive payday looms

Elon Musk’s next massive payday looms

Does the richest person on the planet need another massive pay package? That’s the decision facing the Tesla board of directors.

CEO Elon Musk doesn’t receive any cash salary or bonus. He’s paid only with stock options. But he has just about exhausted the options available from the compensation package he got from Tesla in 2018, a package that turned out to be the most lucrative package of stock options issued by any company, according to Courtney Yu, director of research at executive compensation firm Equilar.

The 93.9 million options Musk has received so far from that package were worth $86.8 billion as of Friday’s close, after taking into account the exercise price. Musk got 25.3 million of those options just this past week due to the record earnings Tesla posted Wednesday. He’s likely to soon receive another 8.4 million options, probably after the company posts its second or third-quarter results, based on analysts’ revenue forecasts for the company.

But those 8.4 million options, worth billions, are a relatively small portion of what Musk ultimately might receive. Once he gets those additional options, he will have received all 101 million split-adjusted options that were part of that 2018 pay package. The question should be whether he’ll get even more options, perhaps tens of millions more options. Musk dodged a question about such a payday during an investor call Wednesday, saying simply, “There are no discussions currently underway for incremental compensation for me.” But that doesn’t mean he won’t be offered that kind of payday in the future.