Mr. 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 C.E.O. for the next four or five years, and it's T.B.D. after that."
With the success of Mr. 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 Tony Stark character in "Iron Man'' might move on to a different role at Tesla.
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Well, it is now four years later, the Model 3 had its debut last July (though production delays have slowed the rollout), and Mr. 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.
The company is planning to announce on Tuesday Mr. Musk's new compensation plan, and it is perhaps the most radical in corporate history: Mr. 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. Mr. 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.