Elon Musk, one of the richest people in the world, is also among the lowest paid CEOs — by a lot.
Musk earned $49,920 last year, Tesla said Thursday. That’s what an 80-hour work week on California’s minimum wage gets you ($10.50 an hour plus overtime).
That’s less than the $57,617 that the average American household earns each year, according to the Census Bureau. And it’s way, way less than the $22.6 million pay package General Motors (GM) CEO Mary Barra got in 2016.
But Musk doesn’t even take that modest amount home with him. He doesn’t accept any of the salary, according to Tesla. So it doesn’t matter to Musk that he’s getting a $6,000 raise this year (California’s minimum wage went up to $11 an hour).
Don’t worry about Musk getting by on his modest pay. He has 37.9 million shares of Tesla stock, worth about $13 billion.
He also is the controlling shareholder in SpaceX. That company’s prospects are looking good: On Tuesday, It launched the largest rocket in operation, the Falcon Heavy. He’s the world’s 40th richest person, worth $21.4 billion, according to Bloomberg.
It’s not unheard of for executives to sometimes be paid $1 or a similar modest amount, especially if they have a large chunk of the company’s stock as Musk does. Google (GOOG) co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have essentially received only $1 a year since the company went public.
Sometimes when a company is under financial trouble a CEO will also cut his or her pay to $1. GM CEO Rick Wagoner did that as GM spiraled into bankruptcy.