Musk's pay as Tesla CEO drops 99.9% to less than $70,000

While Tesla CEO Elon Musk is awarded cash compensation of $33,280, consistent with minimum wage requirements under California law, he accepts $1 per year for his services, according to a company filing. Photo credit: REUTERS

UPDATED: 4/25/14 10:55 am ET

PALO, ALTO, Calif. (Bloomberg) -- Elon Musk, Tesla Motors Inc.'s CEO and one of the wealthiest U.S. entrepreneurs, saw his take home pay from the automaker plunge by more than 99.9 percent last year after a surge in his 2012 stock options.

Musk, the carmaker's 42-year-old co-founder, received total compensation of $69,989 in 2013, down from $78.2 million a year earlier, the company said in a filing Thursday. The value of stock and options awarded to South African-born Musk totaled just $36,709 in 2013 down from $78.1 million a year earlier.

While Musk is awarded cash compensation of $33,280, consistent with minimum wage requirements under California law, he accepts $1 per year for his services, according to the filing.

Compensation for the leader of the youngest publicly held U.S. automaker compares with a $23.2 million package for Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally.

Ford is planning to announce Mulally's retirement soon, with COO Mark Fields tapped as his successor, according to people familiar with the matter.

Musk, who is also Tesla's biggest shareholder, runs closely held Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and is chairman of SolarCity Corp. His holdings in all three companies give him net worth of about $10 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Musk’s large option award from Tesla in 2012 was intended as compensation over a 10-year term, based on achieving specific goals, the company said in the filing. Those include the market capitalization reaching $43.2 billion within a decade; it’s $25.8 billion now and was $3.9 billion at the end of 2012.

To get the full value, Tesla also must expand its lineup with the Model X SUV, a lower-priced sedan, and raise its electric vehicle production to 300,000 units annually with Musk still at the company.

In the 12 months through February, Tesla notched a 619 percent share price increase, the best of any international automaker in at least two decades.

Tesla is set to release first-quarter results on May 7. The company may report earnings of 9 cents a share for the year’s first three months, excluding certain items, according to the average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. On a GAAP basis, it may have lost 19 cents per share, analysts estimate.

Tesla shares fell 0.1 percent to $207.86 at the close of trading Thursday in New York. The stock has risen 38 percent this year.

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