January 22 of 2020 marked a memorable date for Tesla Motors when the company’s market cap passed the $100 billion mark for the first time. On Thursday, its stocks skyrocketed due to higher earnings than expected for the fourth quarter. If that trend continues, Musk can potentially earn a massive compensation package.
In a recent episode of the Third Row Tesla podcast, Musk opened up about his road to becoming Tesla’s CEO.
“I Really Didn’t Want to Be CEO!”
Fun fact, Musk never really planned on becoming the CEO of Tesla. All he wanted was to work on product engineering and then let “other people do the other stuff.” But, fate had different plans…
Back in 2003, a 32-year-old Elon did a test drive on an electric car model, called the Tzero. It’s what inspired him to create fully electric sports cars. He asked the model’s maker, AC Propulsion, if they would allow him to commercialize the Tzero and they agreed. Musk had already founded his aerospace SpaceX company the year prior, and he didn’t really want to launch another startup.
Joining Tesla Motors
The CEO of AC Propulsion, Tom Cage, suggested Tesla Motors becoming a partner since they too were looking into commercializing the Tzero. The idea appealed to Musk, who thought it was the optimal solution for him doing what he loves and still being able to work on SpaceX.
At the time, Tesla Motors had five co-founders who established the company in 2003. However, there was “a lot of drama,” according to Musk as to who should be the CEO. It took five years, and a turmoil of CEOs until Musk eventually stepped in as CEO in 2008. He felt it was the logical solution as Tesla was not a typical vehicle company, and finding a qualified CEO kept going nowhere.
Over the years, both Tesla Inc. (like he later re-named the company) and Musk have been criticized for a number of events and decisions. But as of right now, things seem to be going up after the company started the production of the Model Y in their new Shanghai factory.
Today, Elon Musks’ net worth is nearly $35 billion, and he owns about 20% of Tesla.