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How Elon Musk’s $44.9 billion Tesla pay package compares to the most generous plans for other US CEOs

Even though the average pay package for American CEOs last year was nearly 200 times higher than that of an employee in the middle of their company’s pay scales, Elon Musk’s record-breaking Tesla compensation dwarfs them by comparison.

Tesla shareholders voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to reinstate Musk’s 10-year pay plan, which the company valued at $44.9 billion in April. It was worth more early in the year, but Tesla’s stock value has fallen about 25% since then.

The full stock package, which was approved by the board and shareholders in 2018, rewards Musk for achieving milestones including increasing Tesla’s market value, pre-tax earnings and sales.

It was rejected in January by a Delaware judge, who said the approval process was “deeply flawed.” The court ruled that Musk controlled the company’s management and that shareholders were not fully informed.

But the company said Musk deserves the reward for making Tesla the world’s best-selling electric vehicle maker, boosting its market value by billions.

Even with the revote vote, Musk will not gain access to the stock options. Tesla is expected to ask the judge to review its decision in light of the vote, and if she doesn’t, the company will likely appeal the ruling to the Delaware Supreme Court. The entire process can take months.

Regardless of the outcome, Musk’s package — the largest award for a CEO of a U.S. publicly traded company — is far above what has been awarded to other CEOs. Here’s how the package compares:

With the average CEO salary

The average pay package for a U.S. S&P 500 CEO was $16.3 million last year, according to data analyzed by Equilar for The Associated Press. If you multiply that by 10 to get $163 million for ten years of work, Musk’s earnings would still be 275 times greater.

In her January ruling striking down the package, Delaware Chancellor Kathaleen St. Jude McCormick wrote that Musk’s package, then worth about $56 billion, was 250 times larger than the average peer CEO pay plan .

With individual CEOs

The top earner in the AP survey was Hock Tan, CEO of artificial intelligence company Broadcom Inc. His package, which consisted mainly of stock awards, was valued at about $162 million at the start of fiscal 2023. stock price, Broadcom in March valued Tan’s pay package, plus older options he had not yet cashed in, at $767.7 million. That’s an amount easily dwarfed by Musk’s potential return of 304 million shares worth nearly $45 billion.

Other CEOs topping the AP survey include William Lansing of Fair Isaac Corp, ($66.3 million); Tim Cook of Apple Inc. ($63.2 million); Hamid Moghadam of Prologis Inc. ($50.9 million); and Ted Sarandos, co-CEO of Netflix ($49.8 million).

Technically, Musk didn’t get any compensation last year because he didn’t get any stock options. But he will become even richer if his pay package continues.

With Tesla employees

It is difficult to calculate what Musk’s annual salary would have been last year. The company says he received nothing. But if his compensation package passes the court, his wages will run into billions. According to the company’s proxy filing this year, the average annual salary of a non-CEO Tesla employee last year was $45,811.