Being a CEO sure must be great. You get to proudly call yourself the king of a corporation while simultaneously earning what is referred to as ‘bonuses.’ These bonuses are a bit like spinning the roulette wheel, as the payouts are always generous and make whoever gets them feel like more of a winner. Sure, there is probably a fair amount of stress involved in being a CEO, but nothing combats stress like owning a yacht. Or a fleet of yachts if you happen to be Elon Musk. Or the entire yacht club. Or the country that the yacht club resides in.
If it wasn’t already obvious, Elon Musk is the highest paid CEO in the world, by a pretty big margin. In fact, he earned more than the next 65 CEOs on the list combined. That wacky Musk sure is rolling in the loot, even as he causes controversy by sharing a joint with Joe Rogan in a podcast.
Here is a look at the highest paid CEOs in the world, and how Musk sits so far ahead of every other name on the list.
So Many Zeroes
The New York Times put out an official list of CEO Compensation for 2018. The study was done with a helping hand from compensation consultancy company Equilar, and the results have been raising more than a few eyebrows. According to the chart, the CEO of Tesla, who also has a finger in several other companies, would have around $2 billion in his pocket from 2018. This is shocking not only because a single human should never earn as much in a single year, but also because Tesla has been very publicly suffering, with stocks plummeting to record lows.
Regardless, if you take the next 65 names on the list and combine them, they don’t come close to earning what the Tesla CEO did. That speaks volumes about the man that is looked on as a genius entrepreneurial guru around the world, mostly because he happens to have a very impressive PR team working around the clock. Though, the report isn’t exactly all it’s cracked up to be, with more than a few pointing out that the representation of Musk’s earnings are misleading, to say the least. But we’ll get to that.
Other Rich People
First, let’s take a look at the next 9 CEOs on the list, and how much they earned. Though the trick is that the New York Times list broke down CEO earnings by not just salary, but also bonuses awarded and stock options to get an overall value and their place on the list. Here are the next names on the list, and their significant fortunes earned in 2018.
- DISCOVERY (DISC.A) – David M. Zaslav – $3 million salary, around $120 million stock options, and he received a healthy $9 million bonus.
- PALO ALTO NETWORKS, Nikesh Arora – $155,000 salary, around $110 million stock options
- ORACLE, Mark V. Hurd – $950,000 salary, $103 million stock options
- ORACLE – Safra A. Catz – $950,000 salary, $103 million stock options
- T-MOBILE US – John J. Legere – $1.8 million salary, $58 million stock options, and a notable $6 million bonus
- WALT DISNEY – Robert A. Iger – $2.8 million salary, around $42 million stock options, and a stunning $18 million bonus
- PTC (PTC) – James Heppelmann – $800,000 salary, $48 million stock options
- ESTÉE LAUDER (EL) – Fabrizio Freda – $1.9 million salary, $38 million stock options, a sizable $6 million bonus
- J2 GLOBAL (JCOM) – Vivek Shah – $1 million salary, $35 million stock options
How Is Musk So Rich?
So, how exactly is Musk so dominant in the being rich department? First, the compensation package was indeed approved by the Tesla board in March 2018. It was granted under certain conditions, including various milestones being reached in the growth of the company. At this moment it should be pointed out, very specifically, that Musk would enter onto the list above as such.
- TESLA, Elon Musk – $0 Salary, 0$ Bonus, $2 billion stock options
Which is to say, he gets no salary and no bonuses of any kind. Tesla addressed the list and pointedly stated that it is a massive misrepresentation of the truth, which is that $0 was given to Musk directly, throwing the whole scene out of perspective. In fact, given that Tesla stock is at an extremely low point at present, the above list may already be dramatically different, given that his stock options are directly tied to performance of the company.
So, sad to say, Elon Musk is not walking around with $2 billion in his pocket at all, in any realistic way. Which may come as a bit of a disappointment to some, but a relief to others!