Investor's Corner

Tesla billionaire investor Ron Baron supports ratification of Musk’s 2018 pay package

Credit: Tesla Asia/X

Legendary investor Ron Baron has noted that he would be voting in favor of the ratification of Elon Musk’s 2018 CEO Performance Award. Baron’s rationale behind his vote was highlighted in an open letter and discussed in a segment on CNBC’s Squawk Box

In his open letter, Baron noted that Musk’s 2018 compensation package included aggressive performance metrics that — at the time when the CEO Performance Award was approved — few believed were possible. Baron highlighted that had Musk not met his very aggressive performance goals, he would have received nothing from the electric vehicle maker. 

However, since he achieved his performance goals as Tesla’s CEO, shareholders should honor Musk’s pay package. He also noted that he believes Tesla has the potential to grow even more in the years to come. “When the contract was signed, the company’s market value was $53 billion. It got as high as a trillion, and it’s now $550 billion. I think in the next ten years, we’ll make 4-5 times our money again in Tesla,” Baron noted. 

Following is Baron’s open letter in support of Musk’s 2018 compensation plan. 

Baron Capital supports Elon Musk’s 2018 compensation contract for the following reasons:

In 2018, 73% of Tesla’s disinterested shareholders voted in support of Elon’s compensation contract. The will of those owners of the company should be honored. The contractual agreement between the company and Elon should be honored. The voice of shareholders and legally binding contracts should not be permitted to be undone by a shareholder for hire and his strike suit lawyers. The plaintiff shareholder in question owned nine (9) Tesla shares, and the lawyers who represented him have requested they be awarded $5.6 billion in fees! Further, the plaintiff’s lawyers requested their fees be paid in Tesla shares…after its stock price has been depressed by this controversy! Does anyone honestly believe the motivation of the plaintiff and his lawyers was to serve the best interests of Tesla and its shareholders?

Elon’s compensation contract contained aggressive performance metrics that few in 2018 believed could be achieved. If these aggressive performance metrics had not been achieved, Elon would have received nothing. When Tesla achieved targeted earnings, revenues, and market cap metrics, Tesla’s shareholders benefitted greatly. Tesla’s market cap when Elon’s pay package was approved on March 21, 2018 was $53.5 billion. It is approximately $550.75 billion today, after having reached a high watermark of $1.24 trillion in November of 2021. He performed under his compensation contract. He earned his pay.

Elon is the ultimate “key man” of key man risk. Without his relentless drive and uncompromising standards, there would be no Tesla. Especially considering how he slept on the floor of Tesla’s Fremont factory when the company was going through what he called “production hell!”

If shareholders want to protect and grow their investment, they must AGAIN approve his compensation contract.

Shareholders should ask themselves this question: is Tesla better off with or without Elon…whom we believe is the reason 6 million people applied for 12,000 jobs last year to work with this extraordinary individual. Because that is what is at stake. At Baron Capital, our answer is clear, loud, and unequivocal: Tesla is better with Elon.

Tesla is Elon.


June 4, 2024

Ron Baron’s full open letter in support of Elon Musk’s 2018 CEO Performance Award can be fully viewed below. 

Baron Capital Tesla Elon Musk Compensation 6.5.2024 by Simon Alvarez on Scribd

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Tesla billionaire investor Ron Baron supports ratification of Musk’s 2018 pay package
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