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Tesla faces scrutiny from investor adviser over director pay

Alan Tovey
·1 min read
Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla Inc., gestures during the Tesla China-Made Model 3 Delivery Ceremony at the company's Gigafactory in Shanghai, China
Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla Inc., gestures during the Tesla China-Made Model 3 Delivery Ceremony at the company's Gigafactory in Shanghai, China

Tesla faces opposition from powerful investor adviser ISS over director pay at the electric car company’s annual meeting this week, where it will reveal latest technological advances.

ISS has flagged up concerns over share options granted to directors, which it said ranged from $1.2m (£930,000) to $7.3m.

It is recommending that investors vote against ratifying director pay, citing “ongoing concerns regarding equity award magnitude and a lack of performance vesting criteria”.

ISS said: “Tesla does not maintain traditional incentive programmes. While stock options are appreciation-based and require an increase in the stock price in order to gain value, investors increasingly expect a meaningful portion of long-term incentives to be tied to preset performance goals.”

However, chief executive Elon Musk got a pass from ISS, which noted that he got a salary of less than $30,000, which he refused, having received a multibillion share award the previous year.

Tesla is also faces opposition from ISS and peer Glass Lewis over the company improving reporting on disputes with employees and human rights. There have been a series of reports about problems between Tesla and its workforce, including claims of discrimination.

Both advisers recommend investors back additional reporting in arbitration procedures, against the board’s recommendation.

Similarly, ISS and Glass Lewis also go against the board by advising shareholders to support a vote for Tesla to provide more detail on human rights, amid concerns about suppliers. Like other electric vehicle companies, Tesla uses rare earth minerals such as cobalt that are often sourced from countries with poor human rights records.