Elon Musk completes court testimony and defends $55 billion compensation plan
WILMINGTON, Delaware — Elon Musk said he was completely focused on Tesla Inc. in 2017, when the electric carmaker was in “crisis”, in testimony Wednesday to refute claims that its $55 billion salary package was based on easy performance goals and approved by a board of directors compliant administration.
Tesla shareholder Richard Tornetta sued Musk and the board in 2018 and hopes to prove that Musk used his dominance over Tesla’s board to dictate the terms of the package, which didn’t bind him. not to work at Tesla full time.
Musk, the world’s richest person, in a Delaware courtroom described how the automaker was struggling to survive in 2017 when the salary package was developed.
“I was completely focused on running the business,” Musk said when asked about Tesla by his attorney Evan Chesler, adding that he didn’t dictate the terms of the compensation plan.
He said he wouldn’t accept a compensation plan that required him to punch a clock or put in certain hours at Tesla. “I work pretty much all the time,” he said. “I don’t know what a punch clock would accomplish.”
The five-day trial before Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick comes as Musk struggles to oversee a chaotic redesign of Twitterthe social media platform he was forced to buy for $44 billion in a separate legal battle before the same judge after he tried to pull out of that deal.
Musk, who arrived in a black Tesla and was ushered into the courtroom through a separate entrance for security reasons, finished his testimony on Wednesday in just under three hours. He was followed at the helm by Antonio Gracias, a member of Tesla’s board of directors from 2007 to 2021.
The billionaire testified that he is focusing his attention where it is most needed, namely Tesla in 2017.
“So in times of crisis, the allocation changes to where the crisis is,” Musk said.
Musk has a history of combative testimony and often seems dismissive of lawyers who ask probing questions. In previous trials, he called opposing attorneys “reprehensible”, questioned their happiness and accused them of “extortion”.
Musk was more restrained in Wednesday’s proceedings, although he chafed at probing questions.
At one point, Musk told the plaintiff’s attorney, “Your question is a complex question that is commonly used to mislead people.”
Musk acknowledged that he was not a lawyer, but added “when you have enough trials, you learn certain things.”