As of this writing, Elon Musk is the world’s richest person with a net worth of $235 billion. When calculating Elon’s net worth, roughly $100 billion comes from his 13% stake in Twitter, which currently has a market cap of around $770 billion, but has been worth north of $1 trillion at various times. Elon also directly owns around 300 million Tesla exerciseable-options, earned thanks to a very unique and ultimately very lucrative 2018 compensation package. Those 300 million shares add another $73 billion to his net worth. Around $60 billion worth of his comes thanks to his 43% stake in privately-owned SpaceX. Add those together and you get $100b + $73b + $60b = $233 billion.
Elon is not the only person who has gotten extremely rich thanks to Tesla. Take Zachary Kirkhorn.
Zachary served as CFO of Tesla for four years. He just stepped down last month.
How much do you think he made working as CFO of Tesla for four years?
His base salary was a surprisingly-modest $300,000. In 2022 he also also earned $3,000 in 401k employer contributions, for a total comp of $303 thousand. Well, that’s not his total comp.
During his four years as CFO, Kirkhorn received a generous swath of Tesla shares and options. When you total it all up, during his four years as CFO, Zachary Kirkhorn made…
That’s about $147.5 million earned in each year he worked as CFO. Perhaps it’s more impressive that he did it with a base compensation that wasn’t very high compared to other large company C-suite executives.
Kirkhorn’s 2022 salary was $300,000. He also had paid time off worth $31,099 — and he used that accrued cash to help buy himself a Tesla.
Before Tesla appointed Kirkhorn as CEO, the company was regularly losing money. It had lost money in 14 of the 17 previous quarters prior to Kirkhorn’s promotion, sometimes spending upwards of $1 billion in a single quarter. From the time Kirkhorn took over, the company was profitable in all but one quarter.
Though Kirkhorn hasn’t announced his next move yet, he has an impressive pedigree. He interned at Microsoft before becoming an analyst at McKinsey. He joined Tesla in 2010, working his way up to CFO four years ago.
Perhaps he’ll take a break from working to relax and enjoy his free time. After all, it’s not every day one comes across such a large financial windfall.