Tesla Shareholders to Vote on Elon Musk's $56B Pay Package: What's at Stake?

Debate Over Musk's Compensation Heats Up as Shareholders Weigh In

Jun 10, 2024 - 11:18
Jun 10, 2024 - 11:19
Tesla Shareholders to Vote on Elon Musk's $56B Pay Package: What's at Stake?
Tesla Shareholders to Vote on Elon Musk's $56B Pay Package: What's at Stake?

Tesla shareholders are set to vote this week on Elon Musk's controversial $56 billion pay package. While some investors want Musk to receive the compensation and remain focused on Tesla, others argue that the pay package is excessive and question Musk's commitment due to his involvement in other ventures.

Background and Context

Most shareholder meetings are typically straightforward, but Tesla's upcoming meeting is expected to be different. Taking place at the Giga Austin plant, Tesla will reveal the results of key votes, including the decision on Musk’s compensation. Wall Street predicts that Musk will secure his pay package, but not without significant debate.

Controversy Over Musk’s Pay Package

In 2018, Musk was awarded an all-stock pay package that has since been embroiled in controversy. Earlier this year, a Delaware court invalidated the package, stating that Tesla’s board did not act “in the best interests” of shareholders. Since then, Tesla’s board, led by chair Robyn Denholm, has been pushing for shareholder approval of a similar compensation package. Last week, Denholm penned an open letter urging shareholders to support the package, emphasizing the need to keep Musk motivated and focused on Tesla.

Denholm’s letter raised eyebrows with its emphasis on “retaining Elon’s attention and motivating him,” an unusual move for a board chair.

Diverse Opinions on Musk’s Pay

Economist Dean Baker highlighted in a research paper that while top management often strives to cut company costs, they rarely seek to reduce their own pay. He suggested that if the board does not limit CEO pay, no one will.

Musk has previously expressed concerns about his divided attention due to his involvement with SpaceX, X.com (formerly Twitter), and other ventures. He has also mentioned the need for sufficient voting control to influence Tesla’s direction.

Recently, reports surfaced that Musk redirected Nvidia AI chips meant for Tesla to X.com. Musk defended the decision, stating that Tesla lacked space to use the chips and they would have otherwise remained unused.

Denholm acknowledged the challenge of keeping Musk's focus, mentioning other ventures that could attract his attention and energy. Musk’s supporters argue that his leadership is crucial for Tesla's future success.

Shareholder Sentiments

Supporters like billionaire investor Ron Baron and ARK Invest CEO Cathie Wood argue that Musk’s leadership is vital for Tesla. Wood pointed out that Musk has committed to no salary, bonus, or stock compensation for ten years unless he creates significant value for shareholders.

Conversely, proxy advisor firm Glass Lewis urged shareholders to vote against the package, citing its excessive size and dilutive effect. ISS, another major proxy adviser, also recommended voting against it.

Norway's $1.7 trillion sovereign wealth fund, Tesla’s seventh-largest shareholder, has opposed the pay package, expressing concerns about its size, structure, and dilution effects. Other major funds, such as Vanguard, BlackRock, and State Street, have not publicly commented.

Expected Outcome and Implications

Despite the controversy, many expect shareholders to approve Musk’s pay package. Wedbush analyst Dan Ives predicted that the package would be overwhelmingly reapproved, stating that Tesla needs Musk to navigate a critical period for the company.

CFRA's Garrett Nelson anticipates a closer vote, noting the board’s extensive outreach efforts. He argued that Musk’s innovation is a key reason for Tesla’s stock premium and that rejecting the pay package could increase uncertainty about the company’s future direction.


The upcoming vote on Elon Musk's pay package is a pivotal moment for Tesla and its shareholders. The outcome will likely impact not only Musk’s future with the company but also Tesla’s direction and investor confidence moving forward.

Also Read: Investor Ron Baron Supports Elon Musk's $56 Billion Pay Plan at Tesla

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