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更新时间:2018-1-25 20:02:34 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Tesla’s Elon Musk May Have Boldest Pay Plan in Corporate History

For the last several years, there has been speculation about Elon Musk’s future at Tesla, and whether he would step down as chief executive in the next year or two.

在过去的几年里,关于埃隆·马斯克(Elon Musk)在特斯拉(Tesla)的未来,以及他是否会在一两年内辞去首席执行官职务,坊间有许多猜测。

Musk stoked that speculation as far back as five years ago when he said he wanted to stay through the introduction of the Model 3. Then in 2014, he said, “I’ll have to see, you know, how things are going at that point,” adding, “I will certainly be the CEO for the next four or five years, and it’s TBD after that.”

马斯克早在五年前就引发了这样的猜测,当时他表示自己希望等到Model 3推出。而到了2014年,他说,“我得看看,到时候是什么情况,”还说,“往后的四五年我肯定都会是公司的CEO,之后再待定。”

With the success of Musk’s various other endeavors, such as Space X, his aeronautics company, it was only natural that investors would expect that the model for Robert Downey Jr.'s character in “Iron Man” might move on to a different role at Tesla.

随着马斯克的其他创业取得成功,比如他的航天公司Space X,投资者自然会想到,这位小罗伯特·唐尼(Robert Downey Jr.)在“钢铁侠”系列中的人物原型,可能会在特斯拉担负一个不同的角色。

Well, it is now four years later, the Model 3 had its debut last July (though production delays have slowed the rollout), and Musk’s to-be-determined declaration has been determined: He told me he had agreed to stay on as chief executive at Tesla for the next decade.

那么,现在四年过去了,Model 3在去年6月亮相(尽管生产进度滞后拖慢了它的发布),马斯克的待定声明也已确定:他告诉我,他已同意在未来十年内继续出任特斯拉的首席执行官。

The company is planning to announce on Tuesday Musk’s new compensation plan, and it is perhaps the most radical in corporate history: Musk 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.


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. In addition, the company has set a dozen revenue and adjusted profit goals. Musk would receive 1.68 million shares, or about 1 percent of the company, only after he reaches milestones for both.


But to put these numbers in perspective, Tesla is worth only about $59 billion today.


If Musk were somehow to increase the value of Tesla to $650 billion — a figure many experts would contend is laughably impossible and would make Tesla one of the five largest companies in the United States, based on current valuations — his stock award could be worth as much as $55 billion (assuming the company does not issue any more shares over the next decade, which is unrealistic.). Even reaching several of the milestones would bring him billions.


Musk’s critics — and there are many — are likely to contend that the new compensation plan is just the company’s latest publicity stunt. He has been called a modern-day P.T. Barnum who has created the illusion of success while missing production estimates. The company continues to lose money; at one point last year, it was losing almost a half-million dollars an hour, according to Bloomberg News. Jim Chanos, a short-seller who has bet against Tesla’s shares — and has been on the losing side of that trade — has contended that Tesla is worthless.

马斯克的批评者——这是个不小的群体——很可能会将这个新的薪酬方案看作是公司最新的公关噱头。他被称为当代P·T·巴纳姆(P.T. Barnum),在产量达不到预期的情况下,还是能制造成功的幻觉。公司持续亏损,据彭博新闻社(Bloomberg News)报道,去年的亏损一度达到将近每小时50万美元。空头吉姆·查诺斯(Jim Chanos)做空了特斯拉的股票——截止目前他还是输家——并认为特斯拉一文不值。

But Musk’s compensation plan is no illusion: He gets paid only if the company succeeds over the long term with significant gains in market cap. And it’s impossible for him to manipulate the system by trying to prop up the stock price for a temporary period. Under the terms of the arrangement, even once his shares vest, he has to hold them an additional five years before he is allowed to sell them.


The way the arrangement is structured, each milestone is a blunt instrument: He either reaches it or gets nothing.


“If all that happens over the next 10 years is that Tesla’s value grows by 80 or 90 percent, then my amount of compensation would be zero,” he said. (His calculations were based on the stock price at the beginning of this year when the company was worth about $50 billion.)


Still, he contended, “I actually see the potential for Tesla to become a trillion-dollar company within a 10-year period.”


As executive compensation plans go, Tesla’s is about as friendly to shareholders as they come. Many other companies have installed outsize packages that often come at the expense of shareholders because the executives get paid even when they underperform their peers.


Asked how he thinks shareholders should feel about Musk’s new pay package, Ira Ehrenpreis, chairman of Tesla’s compensation committee, told me, “It’s heads you win, tails you don’t lose,” meaning if Musk is gaining billions then shareholders are winning, too. And if Musk does not perform, shareholders pay nothing.

被问到股东应该会对马斯克的薪酬待遇作何感想时,特斯拉薪酬委员会主席艾拉·埃伦普拉斯(Ira Ehrenpreis)告诉我,“这是硬币正面算你赢,背面你也不会输”。也就是说,如果马斯克赚了几百亿美元,那么股东是赢家;如果马斯克表现不佳,股东也不损失什么。

Musk’s new compensation plan is similar to the previous one put in place when the company was worth $3.2 billion in 2012. Only now, the numbers are much larger. That package also paid Musk only when he reached certain market value and operational benchmarks. And virtually nobody could conceive Tesla would be worth 17 times what it was back then.


Musk has reached all but one of the metrics in that plan.


Even though Musk’s shares have vested, he has not sold them except to pay the taxes on the grants. His current stake is worth $13 billion.


Musk has often said he is not driven by money. So what is it about this incentive plan that appeals to him?


“None of it is intended for dynastic wealth creation,” he said. “The reason that it’s important to me personally is that there’s some pretty big things that I want to do.”


“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.”