- According a report on CEO compensation in 2018 from The New York Times, Tesla CEO Elon Musk was paid nearly $2.3 billion last year.
- This is more than the next 65 highest-paid CEOs combined.
- Tesla has had its share of turmoil over the last year, and its stock price has fallen dramatically since the start of 2019.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
CEOs make a lot of money, but Elon Musk blew his competition out of the water in 2018, according to a new study by The New York Times.
The study, done with the executive compensation consultancy Equilar, looked at compensation for CEOs at 200 large publicly-traded companies last year.
According to the report, Tesla CEO Elon Musk was awarded nearly $2.3 billion last year, largely in the form of stock options. The next-highest CEO on the list, Discovery’s David M. Zaslav, made $129 million.
That is such a giant disparity that the Times had to "add an extra dimension" to their chart showing pay for top CEOs. While the other 199 executives on the list are represented by a standard bar chart, Musk’s haul is illustrated with a two-dimensional rectangle.
To put that into perspective, the left column on the chart below shows Musk’s total 2018 compensation from Tesla, while the stack of bars making up the right column show the total sum of the next 65 executives on the Times’ list:
Business Insider/Andy Kiersz, data from The New York Times
Musk’s compensation package from Tesla is uncommon among top executives. Approved by Tesla’s board in March 2018, the package awards options to Musk if Tesla hits specific market capitalization milestones over a decade.
Several commentators at the time noted the unusual nature of the compensation package. Business Insider’s Troy Wolverton pointed out that Musk already controls a large amount of Tesla’s stock, and so he already has strong incentives to boost the company’s market cap.
Musk’s outsized compensation coincided with a tumultuous year for him and the company. In an article accompanying the CEO pay study, The Times observed that Tesla had issues with scaling up production of their cars. Further, a tweet from Musk last August suggesting that he had "funding secured" to take the company private led to a SEC investigation and ongoing legal battle.
Tesla’s stock price whipsawed throughout 2018, eventually ending up about 4% over the year. In 2019, the stock has declined dramatically as the company’s woes continue:
Business Insider/Andy Kiersz, data from Yahoo Finance
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