Many news outlets are reporting today that Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of Tesla Motors Inc., was paid a minimum wage of $35,360 in 2014. The real number is closer to $100 million.
Tesla granted Musk 5.27 million options valued at $78.1 million in 2012 that were intended to compensate him for 10 years, according to a filing at the time. Last year, 527,490 of those options vested and had a value of $102.4 million as of Dec. 31, according to the Bloomberg Pay Index.
Tesla, maker of the first all-electric sports car, has surged seven-fold from the $31.17 exercise price on the options Musk was awarded in 2012. The stock fell 0.3 percent to $218.80 at 3:53 p.m. in New York. The Palo Alto, California-based company offers him a minimum wage salary to comply with state law.
“Mr. Musk, however, has never accepted and currently does not accept his salary,” Tesla said in its April 22 proxy statement.
The payout of Musk’s option awards is tied to performance goals such as increases in the company’s market capitalization and development of its vehicles.
Musk, who has a net worth of $11.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, holds 7.24 million exercisable options to buy Tesla shares, some of which are from grants made as early as 2009, about seven months before the company first sold shares to the public. Those would be worth $1.53 billion if they were exercised yesterday. About 4.75 million options from the 2012 grant are unexercisable. He hasn’t exercised any shares from the award.
Khobi Brooklyn, a spokeswoman for Tesla, declined to comment beyond the filings.