Elon Musk Doesn't Understand Lucid CEO's $379M Compensation

Photo: Chesnot (Getty Images)
Photo: Chesnot (Getty Images)

Elon Musk loves nothing more than hopping on the social network he’s working to destroy and posting weird, uninformed nonsense — the vaguer the better, lest he let slip too much and reveal that the emperor is in fact not only naked, but dumb as rocks. It’s a delicate tightrope performance, one that Musk is deeply bad at. Usually he does this about international politics, disease spread, or his own companies, but his most recent blunder comes from an area he should know well: Executive compensation.

On Monday, Musk tweeted — sorry, posted on X — about Lucid CEO Peter Rawlinson’s pay. In response to a tweet calling Rawlinson “the highest-paid automotive CEO in 2022,” Musk gave a dire warning to his followers: “Beware any company where leadership compensation is not linked to performance.” There’s only one problem: Rawlinson’s pay is linked to performance.

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Back in March of 2021, Lucid Motors was bought out by Churchill Capital Acquisition Corp IV — a special purpose acquisition company, the hot new way to get your startup on the Nasdaq. The newly-merged company was renamed Lucid Group, and Rawlinson got a pretty sweet deal out of it. He has 13,834,748 units of stock in Lucid Group that vest in stages over the course of four years, as well as 16,024,411 shares of the company that vest in five tranches based on company performance. Specifically, those performance-based stock vests are tied to Lucid Group’s market capitalization — its overall value on the stock exchange. In 2022, Lucid Group hit four of the five goals for market capitalization, and Rawlinson banked 13,934,272 shares of the company’s stock in return. That comes out to $95,171,077.76, based on Lucid Group’s share price on the last market day of 2022 — before the salary, the other stock options, and the salary-based performance incentives.

So, as is so often true, Musk is wrong. Rawlinson’s pay is directly tied to Lucid’s performance, both through the salary-based incentives and the tranches of shares that release based on market capitalization. Musk would even have known that most of Rawlinson’s pay came from stock if he’d bothered to read the article to which he was replying — but, alas, he likely doesn’t have time for little things like that. He’s much too busy... suing the ADL? Oh, christ.

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