Elon Musk testified Wednesday that he was not involved in discussions among Tesla board members about a 2018 compensation package that awarded him billions in stock options that helped make him the world’s richest man.
Speaking in court in Wilmington, Delaware, Mr. Musk has pushed back against allegations in the shareholder lawsuit that the electric car company’s board is filled with friends and others close to him who take orders from him.
“I’m totally focused” on managing Tesla, he said.
The situation in which Mr. Musk is testifying about a compensation package that was awarded to Mr. Musk. Musk’s stock options give him the right to buy nearly $50 billion in Tesla stock if the company hits specific revenue, profit and stock price growth targets. At the time, the deal was the largest of its kind and has become a template for many other corporate boards to reward chief executives.
In court documents, attorneys for suing shareholder Richard Tornetta argued that in April 2017, Musk began outlining a compensation agreement with director Ira Ehrenpreis, who leads the board’s compensation committee. Lawyers for the plaintiffs also said in court filings that Tesla directors and executives said in testimony that the board did not expect Mr. Musk hadn’t started scouting for a potential successor before he left the company.
On the witness stand, sir. Musk also appears to be countering a claim in the lawsuit that the Tesla stake he already owns — about 22% of the company — is incentive enough. In an existential struggle to ramp up production of the company’s first mass-market car, the Model 3, he said he was considering leaving Tesla.
“We’re at an inflection point where we have to decide whether I’m going to run the company or someone else is going to run the company,” Mr. Musk said. “I don’t want to be a CEO”
Mr. Musk’s lawyers and Tesla directors filed motions to dismiss the lawsuit, but in 2019 another Delaware judge allowed much of the case to proceed.
The case is before Secretary Kathaleen McCormick in the Delaware Chancery Court. She also moderated the brief lawsuit Twitter filed against Trump in July. Musk forced him to complete the acquisition of the social media company after he tried to back out of the deal. gentlemen. Musk closed the deal last month.
More than a year after Tesla’s 2018 compensation deal was reached, the company’s stock price began to climb sharply, from around $21 to a peak of around $410 in November 2021. It has since fallen about 50 percent and is currently trading around $190.
Besides defending myself, sir. Musk used his time on the witness stand to address some of his favorite talking points, including how Tesla single-handedly started the electric car business and why he loathes the SEC and investors who have shorted Tesla stock.
“Tesla has had a huge impact on the world,” said Mr. That appeared to be an effort to show he had earned his pay, Musk said in response to questions from Evan Chesler, a lawyer representing Tesla. “It’s not just Tesla making electric cars, we’re really a major reason why the rest of the auto industry is moving to sustainable electric vehicles.”
This appeared to be aimed at showing Mr. Musk doesn’t always listen to authority, Mr. Musk. Musk lashed out at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which accused him of securities fraud in August 2018 when he claimed he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private. To solve this case, sir. Musk agreed to resign as Tesla chairman, paid a fine and agreed to have lawyers review some of his social media posts about Tesla. In April, a federal judge denied Mr.Musk terminates agreement with SEC
“The SEC continues to haunt me,” he said.
gentlemen. Musk spoke quietly as he answered some questions, offering one-word answers. On other topics, though, he goes into great detail.
At some point relatively early in his testimony, McCormick, the chancellor of the exchequer, expressed his disappointment with Mr. Musk’s digression, saying, “I’m going to interrupt Mr. Musk, because we could all listen to this all day long. It’s very interesting, but I don’t think it responds to a question I’m forgetting right now.”