- Thanks to stock options, Elon Musk took home nearly $600 million in pay last year.
- That’s more than four times as much as the second-highest-paid CEO.
- The record-breaking pay comes as he continues bizarre and controversial public statements.
Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk topped the list of Wall Street pay for 2019. In total, he took home a whopping $595.3 million.
Tech Blows Value Out of the Water on Performance and Pay
Musk’s colossal payday, which was entirely in the form of stock options and the advancing price of Tesla shares, caused his net worth to explode.
It was enough to send Musk higher on the billionaire ranks than Warren Buffett. Tesla’s eclectic CEO is now one of the world’s richest men.
Looking at top executive pay, it’s clear that technology companies are creating vastly more wealth than other industries.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook took home Wall Street’s second-largest payday, but at a mere $133.7 million.
Several other familiar tech names were generous to their CEOs as well. Outside of the sector, Blackstone Group’s (NYSE:BX) Jonathan Gray was the only financial executive to make it into the top ten.
Shareholders Continue to Ignore Musk’s Erratic Behavior
As Musk’s net worth explodes, the billionaire has been adding a laundry list of questionable statements and actions.
For instance, since March, he has downplayed the severity of the global pandemic. He has tweeted several times on potential treatments and has come out against stay-at-home orders, including those at a Tesla facility in California. He even went so far as to call such orders “fascist” during a company conference call in May.
That’s on top of other behaviors, such as tweeting that shares of Tesla were overpriced, which caused a brief pullback in the stock.
That wasn’t the first time Musk has gone on Twitter and acted in a way that could be construed as stock manipulation. More recently, he claimed the company was close to fully autonomous vehicles, while the data suggest otherwise.
The most infamous event was a 2018 tweet where he mused about taking the company private and stated that funding was “secured.”
The fallout from that false statement led to a drop in shares of nearly 40% before the company’s epic rally.
Musk’s erratic behavior can be troubling, but as long as he’s delivering on car production, and as long as investors want to keep piling into shares, he’ll likely continue climbing the billionaire list.
Just don’t be surprised if he turns into a real-world Bond villain.
Disclaimer: This article represents the author’s opinion and should not be considered investment or trading advice from CCN.com. The author holds no investment position in the above-mentioned securities.