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Elon Musk. Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Elon Musk has agreed to be CEO of Tesla for the next decade and could earn as much as $55 billion in stock awards, but “will be paid only if he reaches a series of jaw-dropping milestones based on the company’s market value and operations. Otherwise, he will be paid nothing,” NYT’s Andrew Ross Sorkin writes.

“Tesla has set a dozen targets, each $50 billion more than the next, starting at $100 billion, then $150 billion, then $200 billion and so on, all the way to a market value of $650 billion.”

  • Tesla is worth about $59 billion today. Reaching a market value of $650 billion would make Tesla one of the five largest companies in the U.S.
  • Musk's "stock award could be worth as much as $55 billion" if he hits that valuation goal. Sorkin notes a sum this high is unlikely.
  • Tesla organized a similar setup in 2012 when the company was worth $3.2 billion. Musk met each milestone except for one on the way, per the NYT.
  • Critics will be quick to say this is “just the company’s latest publicity stunt... The company continues to lose money; at one point last year, it was losing almost a half-million dollars an hour.”
  • Shareholder impact: “if Mr. Musk is gaining billions then shareholders are winning, too. And if Mr. Musk does not perform, shareholders pay nothing.”
  • Bottom line for Musk: “I want to contribute as much as possible to humanity becoming a multi-planet species,” he said, alluding to a goal he has talked about often, including having people live on Mars. “That obviously requires a certain amount of capital.”

Go deeper

Bipartisan group of senators seeks coronavirus stimulus deal

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

At least eight Republican and Democratic senators have formed an informal working group aimed at securing new coronavirus spending during the lame-duck session, a move favored by President-elect Biden, two sources familiar with the group tell Axios.

Why it matters: It may be the most significant bipartisan step toward COVID relief in months.

FCC chairman to depart in January

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Ajit Pai will leave his post as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission on Jan. 20, the agency said today.

Why it matters: Pai's Inauguration Day departure is in keeping with agency tradition, and could set up the Biden administration with a 2-1 Democratic majority at the FCC if the Senate fails to confirm another Trump nominee during the lame-duck period.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

GM's shrinking deal with Nikola

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

General Motors will no longer take an equity stake in Nikola Corp. or build its pickup truck, under a revised deal that still envisions GM as a key tech supplier for Nikola's planned line of electric and fuel cell heavy trucks.

Driving the news: The revised agreement Monday is smaller in scope than a draft partnership rolled out in September that had included a $2 billion stake in the startup and an agreement to build its Badger pickup.