Musk launches charm offensive to win record pay package

Elon Musk is trying a new approach to getting his $56 billion Tesla pay package approved: a charm offensive.

The electric vehicle maker’s CEO will give a guided tour of the company’s production lines for the Cybertruck and Model Y in Texas on June 12, a day before the company’s annual shareholder meeting.

Only 15 shareholders will be able to participate in the tour and, to be considered, they will have to have voted on Musk’s pay package, which was overturned by a Delaware judge for governance failures. The company says the way they voted on the matter does not affect their chances of making the tour. Winners of the contest will also have a reserved seat at the June shareholders meeting.

Musk will be joined by Franz von Holzhausen, who heads the company’s design, and other executives for the tour.

The move is part of a major effort by the company to increase shareholder support for Musk’s pay package. The company says approval is essential to ensure Musk stays focused on Tesla and notes that he has not been paid for any work at the company over the past six years. Additionally, he argued, Musk agreed to a five-year lock-up period for his shares, which the company hopes will be more than enough time for the stock to gain traction.

Critics, however, say Musk’s attention is divided between the automaker, SpaceX and Twitter/X. Vehicle sales are down and stock has plummeted this year, even with layoffs. New York City Comptroller Brad Lander lampooned the deal, saying, “Seldom has there been such an egregious display of independent shareholder governance as this one.”

Musk owns 13% of Tesla. The additional shares in this proposed pay package would increase his potential ownership to 23% of the company. He had previously threatened to build artificial intelligence products outside of Tesla if he does not get 25% of the company’s voting power, which could affect its self-driving technology.

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