Elon Musk, a wealthy tech entrepreneur from Texas, sold $1 billion worth of Tesla (TSLA) stock this week.
As part of a 2012 bonus plan, Tesla CEO Elon Musk bought 1.6 million shares at a price of $6.25 per share then sold 934,090 of those shares for roughly $1 billion on Tuesday, according to CNBC.
In early November, Musk threw his choice to sell 10% of Tesla to the whims of his more than 60 million Twitter followers. With the newest transaction, he seems to be getting closer to that target.
In light of recent talk about using unrealized gains to evade taxes, I would want to sell 10% of my Tesla shares. No, I don’t,” he responds. Musk posed the question to his Twitter followers on November 6 with a simple yes/no poll. Voters had urged him to sell his shares, with 579.9 percent of them saying so in a survey conducted by the company.
Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock.
Do you support this?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 6, 2021
Since September, Musk has sold 15.6 million shares for $16.4 billion as part of a trading strategy he devised. Musk, on the other hand, is flush with shares in his own firms. According to CNN, he will have 177.7 million shares by the end of 2021, up from 170.5 million at the beginning of the year.
On the surface, Musk’s selling frenzy seems to be democratic, but its true motivation appears to be to pay off an estimated $11 billion in unpaid taxes, making it the highest individual tax debt in American history. Even though Musk’s fortune increased by $13.9 billion over the previous four years, and he was only the second wealthiest person on the planet, a ProPublica investigation released earlier this year discovered that he paid no federal income tax at all in 2018.
Based on his ownership shares in Tesla and SpaceX, Musk’s current net worth surpasses $275 billion. Neither an annual salary nor any monetary bonuses are paid to him.
Elon Musk turns CNBC host into a full-on “fanboy:” “If loving him is wrong, I don’t want to be right.”
An understatement would be to say that Elon Musk has detractors. Look at the outrage on social media after his decision to sell Tesla shares and his expected $11 billion tax bill for 2021. To put it another way, because of his attitude and mannerisms, Musk tends to get a bad rap from journalists. This is evident in the deluge of unfavorable stories about his companies, such as Tesla.
CNBC is one of the media channels that fall under this category. Joe Kernan, CNBC’s Squawk Box veteran, recently revealed that he had had enough of suppressing his admiration for Tesla CEO Elon Musk. “I would rather not be right than correct,” said Kernan, when asked about his admiration for Elon Musk by another presenter during an interview.
"If loving him is wrong, I don't want to be right." pic.twitter.com/QRM0smKDsW
— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) December 29, 2021
“I am very sorry. He is fifty years old. When he was only 12 years old, he sold the first video game that he had written in code. Even at fifty, I am a fangirl because she is so unafraid and unintelligent. Sorry again. That is what I am saying. It is true, I will be the first to confess it. Is that incorrect? I do not want to be correct if loving him is bad. I have done my best to avoid it. Kernan added, “And I have simply surrendered myself to it now.”
In spite of the backlash from online supporters of the CEO, Kerna stood by his tweets. “Bring on the hatred” was the message from Kernan in a follow-up post. Ironically, Twitter users reacted positively to the host’s statement of support for Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
— Joe Kernen (@JoeSquawk) December 29, 2021
Not only Kernan, a stalwart of CNBC, has changed his tune on Elon Musk. Tesla has “all the components of a winner,” according to long-time financial commentator Jim Cramer, who confessed that in December of last year he had changed his tune on Tesla after years of skepticism. As a result, even if Cramer has expressed doubt about Musk’s following ideas, his overall view of the firm has remained favorable since.
As recently as last month, Cramer argued that Tesla’s Full Self-Driving program is something that the world desperately needs. Finally, we will reach a stage when self-driving vehicles will be able to foresee events much better than human drivers can…
This type of technology has become a crusade for Musk, and I believe we need it because every time there is an autonomous driving accident, the press is treating it like it is the end of the world, even though tragic accidents — accidents that are caused by human drivers, in fact – happen. They are no longer even mentioned in the media. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has indicated that he and other supporters of the cause “ought to follow” him.
Elon Musk is a business savant,’ but according to his brother Kimbal, “his talent is not empathy.”
It is possible that you would not want to be Elon Musk’s assistant, even if he owns two of the world’s most inventive and lucrative tech firms.
SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, 50, has been called a “business genius,” but his brother and longstanding business partner Kimbal Musk told Time magazine earlier this month that his “talent is not empathy with people.”
No one can dispute that he is a natural-born genius. When Tesla and SpaceX were originally started in the early 2000s, Elon Musk himself said they were more likely to fail than succeed. The market value of the electric car company Tesla as of Monday is $1.1 trillion, while SpaceX was just valued at $100.3 billion, cementing Tesla’s position as the world’s wealthiest person, according to Bloomberg.
Musk has been accused by friends, rivals, and even himself, of a lack of social skills frequently in the last several years.
As host of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” in May, the billionaire claimed, “I have revolutionized electric automobiles and I am sending people to Mars.” What do you think of me? Do you believe I am going to be a regular guy, too??”
Ashlee Vance, an author, and journalist wrote a 400-page biography of Musk in 2015 and told Vice that Musk had “the oddest sort of empathy.”
He may not have a lot of empathy for other people, but he does have a lot of empathy for humanity,” Vance added. “I believe he experiences emotions in a way that most people do not.”
Empathetic managers have been shown to increase productivity and motivation in their workforces. 61 percent of those with “very empathetic senior leaders” in New York City’s workplace organization Catalyst claimed they felt constantly inventive at work, whereas just 13 percent of other respondents said the same thing.
A caring employer, on the other hand, led to 76% of workers reporting that they were often engaged at work, compared to only 32% of those with less empathic managers.
Musk seems to fall within the second group. He has long argued that human existence depends on space research and travel, and those electric cars may contribute in the fight against global warming. Workers and former employees, however, claim they have to put up with poisonous and harmful environments to work on initiatives that might change the world.
A few days after Elon Musk was selected Time’s Person of the Year, ex-SpaceX engineer Ashley Kosak took to the internet to claim that she had been sexually harassed at work and that Musk had helped foster an environment conducive to it.
For example, “Elon changes the goalpost continuously, needlessly drains resources from employees who are driving themselves to the point of burnout, and then sends frightening signals to remind them that their efforts will never be acceptable,” writes Kosak.
Four more former SpaceX workers came out after the op-ed was published to tell The Verge of their own experiences with workplace harassment.
“Rampant sexual harassment” and “nightmarish circumstances” at Tesla’s Fremont, California-based facility have been alleged by production assistant Jessica Barraza, who filed a lawsuit against the corporation last month. According to the Washington Post, six additional women have subsequently filed similar complaints, several of them openly blaming Tesla’s working atmosphere on Musk.
Attempts to reach SpaceX and Tesla for comment were met with silence.