Tesla's Breakneck Rise Is Making Employees Rich

Tesla employees are becoming very rich, and CEO Elon Musk is sitting on top of the meteoric rise.
Brad Bergan

Tesla's rapid rise is making many employees very rich — while none of their fortunes come close to Elon Musk's, who is experiencing a meteoric rise rarely seen, according to the latest market summary.


Tesla employees becoming very rich

Tesla offers stock options and grants included in its compensation packages for employees — like most tech companies. But unlike other automakers, the company offers stock compensations for all employees in the organization — including sales staff and production associates — a rare thing in the auto industry, reports Electrek.

With the recent surge in Tesla's stock price (by more than 200% in 2020 alone), the company's stocks are creating a new generation of "Tesla millionaires." We can actually look at exactly how rich some top executives are, since the law requires they disclose their holdings in Tesla.

Executive perks at Tesla

Drew Baglino is Tesla SVP of Powertrain and Energy Engineering and holds 4,222 Tesla shares according to a recent report. As of Monday, his stake is worth more than $5.7 million. As one of the top engineers at Tesla, he gradually moved up the ranks throughout his 14-year tenure with the automaker. He's worked closely with CTO and Tesla Cofounder JB Straubel and is now viewed as the unofficial CTO of the company.

The President of Automotive Jerome Guillen holds 9,752 stocks in Tesla, worth more than $13 million. Guillen led several key programs at Tesla, including Tesla Semi and Model S, before he was promoted to head of automotive. His background is heavy in automotive engineering, and all accounts say that he's a strong leader at Tesla.

Tesla's young CFO Zachary Kirkhorn now has 11,831 shares — worth $16 million as of Monday. In parallel to Tesla's stock, Kirkhorn saw a meteoric rise in his career at Tesla, climbing the corporate ranks of Tesla's finance department in 10 years to become one of the youngest CFOs ever in a major company — at only 35 years old.

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Elon Musk: chief executive billionaire

No one at Tesla is getting richer than CEO Elon Musk, who is deep into a rare entrepreneurial run. His latest disclosure shows him owning 34,098,597 TSLA shares — which puts his Tesla stake at more than $46 billion.

His brother, Kimbal Musk, is also on Tesla's board and is gaining a serious rise of his own from Tesla's stock price. As of his last report, he had 130,848 Tesla shares — on Monday worth more than $175 million.

Of course, other Tesla VPs, directors, and even managers are expected to see personal rises from Tesla's massive stock surge — the birth of several more millionaires.

Engineers, new-hires also reap modest reward, in time

Numerous key engineers in manufacturing, construction, and batteries — especially the executives behind Gigafactory in Nevada — were also given massive stock grants worth millions of dollars at the time.

With Tesla's recent price run, the ones who kept their shares in-hand reaped an extremely rich reward.

Lower pay-levels in the company — where most employees work — is also seeing a rise, but a much less interesting one. According to Electrek, new hires are generally given between $20,000 and $40,000 of restricted stocks, which vest after three years, starting one year after they start their time at Tesla.

Tesla also gives performance-based equity bonuses, but these are now on hold amid the coronavirus crisis. This means employees who've held shares since 2019 are getting the most from the latest run in Tesla stocks.

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