It seems leftists are attacking Elon Musk indirectly after seeing their narrative-building platform Twitter slip away from their turf. The Tesla CEO is testifying in a short while from now in a shareholder lawsuit, which examines the massive compensation package that helped make him the world’s richest person. He appeared at the Delaware Court of Chancery in Wilmington shortly after 9 AM EST (US time zone).
Musk’s testimony coincides with his assertion of control over Twitter, overnight giving employees an ultimatum to become “extremely hardcore”, involving “working long hours at high intensity”, failing which they must leave the company.
In Tesla, meanwhile, Musk was awarded a compensation package in 2018 and shareholders approved the deal at the time. Tesla said at the time it could be worth nearly $ 56 billion and the net value today is $ 50.9 billion.
Musk began the day facing questions from his defence lawyer and an attorney for the plaintiff. They asked him about Tesla’s governance and his time spent at the company, as well as his relationship with the board. Musk defended himself, saying he had upheld his duty to raise Tesla’s market value but conceded that he at times did not seek the board’s approval for public statements.
Musk said he did not seek their approval when he announced a potential stock buyback recently. He said further that he did not seek approval for stating that he had seen a path to Tesla becoming worth more than Apple and Saudi Aramco, the two most valuable companies in the world.
Lawyers of plaintiff Richard J Tornetta have described the package this week as close to the gross domestic product of the entire state of Delaware, and vastly more expensive than building the World Trade Center. They have also contrasted Musk’s compensation with the average Tesla salary, which they say is $ 40,000.
Tesla executives have defended the package in two days of testimony so far. “It was around motivating him to achieve things that were bold and audacious and him putting his time and energy into that as opposed to his other interests,” Tesla board chair Robyn Denholm testified Tuesday. Musk was interested in funding inter-planetary travel, she said.
Beyond Tesla, Musk is also the CEO of SpaceX and owner of Twitter and leading the Boring Company, which specializes in underground tunnelling. And he is the founder of Neuralink, which seeks to put computer chips in people’s brains.
Musk’s compensation package goals were characterised as lofty and incredibly difficult to achieve. Former Tesla Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja described the plan as “extremely high-risk, high-reward.” “Even though I believe in Tesla deeply, I felt the level of difficulty of these milestones was so high that for a mere mortal like me, I did not find this as a compelling incentive plan at a personal level,” Ahuja said.
Musk pushed for shareholders to approve the plan, warning that he was “very offended” by a lack of support and those who opposed it would not be welcome in any of his companies, according to emails read in court by the plaintiff’s lawyers.