Elon Musk’s lawyers say his $50 billion Tesla pay package is justified because he’s ‘not the typical CEO’ as a November trial approaches

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Elon Musk in a Tesla Roadster.
Elon Musk in a Tesla Roadster.

  • Elon Musk’s lawyers say the billionaire’s over $50 billion Tesla compensation plan is justified.
  • Musk faces a trial in November over a lawsuit from an investor concerning his 2018 pay package.
  • The pay plan is structured round Tesla’s efficiency objectives and consists of over 100 million inventory choices.

Elon Musk’s lawyers mentioned Tesla’s resolution to provide him a pay package price over $50 billion is because nobody else may have made the electric-car maker’s worth soar the means that Musk has.

The billionaire CEO is set to go to court docket on November 14 over a lawsuit from Tesla investor Richard Tornetta that argues Musk and the automaker breached their fiduciary duties by awarding Musk a pay package that was  “beyond the bounds of reasonable judgment.”

The lawsuit was filed in June 2018 and was despatched to trial earlier this 12 months.

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“The 2018 Plan was designed with Musk in mind,” Musk’s lawyers mentioned in a pretrial temporary filed Tuesday. “The Plan designed and approved by the Board was not a typical pay package intended to compensate the ordinary executive for overseeing the day-to-day operations of a mature company. That is because Musk is not the typical CEO.”

In the 92-page doc, Musk’s lawyers argue that the Tesla CEO’s pay package was required to safe his concentrate on Tesla and “closely resembles a high-reward venture capital investment in Musk as an asset to Tesla” throughout a time when the carmaker’s “survival was uncertain.”

In the preliminary criticism, Tornetta argued that it was a conflict-of-interest that Musk was in a position to design his personal pay package.

Musk’s lawyers mentioned the billionaire has distinguished himself as Tesla’s CEO and has been “intimately involved in all aspects of Tesla’s operations, from its strategic direction to its product design.”

“He has been instrumental in transforming Tesla from a high-end electric sports car manufacturer to far more than just a car company,” the submitting mentioned. “The Board understood that an investment in Musk could reap massive rewards for Tesla’s stockholders.”

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Musk doesn’t obtain a wage from Tesla and his pay package facilities on a sequence of goalposts round the carmaker’s monetary development which was set in place about 4 years in the past. Specifically, the plan includes a 10-year grant of 12 tranches of inventory choices, that are vested when Tesla hits sure targets.

When every milestone is handed, Musk will get inventory equal to 1% of excellent shares at the time of the grant. The firm has since surpassed the metrics as its market worth surged from $53 billion to over $690 billion, Musk’s lawyers mentioned in the court docket submitting.

Ultimately, Musk’s lawyers argued that Tornetta’s shares in Tesla have soared over 1,000% to this point since the billionaire’s compensation plan was established in 2018.

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Lawyers for Tornetta additionally filed a pretrial temporary underneath seal, a model of which can be made public on November 1, they mentioned. Tornetta’s lawyer declined to remark, saying he would let the temporary “speak for itself.”

The five-day trial will happen with Delaware Chancery Court Judge Kathaleen St.J. McCormick presiding over the case — the identical choose that has overseen Musk’s court docket battle with Twitter.

Musk — the richest man in the world — is at present price about $211 billion, per the Bloomberg Billionaire Index. The majority of his wealth is tied up in Tesla fairness.

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