Tesla is going all out to push Elon Musk's $55 billion pay package through — even spending money on ads

Elon Musk
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is looking to get his $55 billion pay package reapproved.Sebastian Gollnow/Getty Images
  • Tesla is spending money on ads to promote Elon Musk's $55 billion pay plan.

  • The company aims to reapprove Musk's compensation package after it was voided by a judge.

  • Shareholders vote on July 13 to determine whether the package will be reinstated.

Tesla is going all in on efforts to push through an approval of Elon Musk's $55 billion pay package.

The automaker, which has traditionally avoided advertising, has even spent some money on ads calling for Tesla investors to vote in favor of the compensation plan. Tesla showed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it had paid for some ads on Google and on Musk's social-media site, X.


"You deserve the final say on matters affecting your investment in Tesla," an ad on X read. "Vote FOR the protection of stockholder rights and to preserve present and future value creation by supporting Tesla proposals 3 and 4."

A screenshot of some of the paid ads Tesla ran in support of Musk's pay package proposal.
A screenshot of some of the ads Tesla ran in support of Musk's pay-package proposal.SEC

The company aims to pass two separate proposals: One moving its state of incorporation from Delaware to Texas and another reapproving Musk's pay, which was struck down by a Delaware judge earlier this year. In January, when the pay plan was voided, Kathleen McCormick, a Delaware Court of Chancery judge, said that Musk had undue influence over the package because of his close ties to several board members and that Musk's sway over Tesla's board resulted in an "unfair price."

A spokesperson for Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Musk does not receive a salary from Tesla and his pay package centered on a series of goalposts around the carmaker's financial growth. The compensation plan was initially set in place in 2018. It involves a 10-year grant of 12 tranches of stock options that are vested when Tesla hits specific targets. When the company hits each milestone, Musk gets stock equal to 1% of outstanding shares at the time of the grant. Tesla says it has hit all of the 12 targets as of 2023.

The package was valued at around $55 billion at the time it was struck down by the judge.

The ad spend is one of several methods Tesla is using to push shareholders to vote in favor of the proposal. On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Robyn Denholm, Tesla's board chair, is planning to spend the weeks leading up to the June 13 shareholder vote traveling in order to drum up support for the initiative. Bloomberg also reported on Wednesday that Tesla had brought on a strategic advisor to promote the agenda.

Earlier in May, Denholm even sat down for a video promoting the pay plan.

"We don't believe one judge's opinion should void the will of millions of votes cast by all of the owners of the company," the Tesla chair said in the video. "So once again, we're asking you to make your voices heard by voting for the ratification of the 2018 performance award."

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