- Tesla CEO Elon Musk surpassed Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to become the world’s richest person on Thursday.
- Tesla’s surging stock price propelled Musk’s net worth up to around $US188 billion as of Thursday.
- On Twitter, Musk reacted to the news by saying “How strange” and “Well, back to work…”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk became the world’s richest person Thursday, and his reaction is about what one might expect from someone who gained a few billion dollars in wealth on top of his 12-figure net worth.
“How strange,” Musk tweeted in response to the news Thursday morning. He followed that up by saying “Well, back to work…”
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 7, 2021
Musk – already an extraordinarily rich man at the end of 2019 – saw his wealth grow by more than $US150 billion over the past year, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index. His wealth more than quintupled during a pandemic that has killed more than 300,000 people in the US and put millions more out of work.
Musk takes a very small salary from his companies, so the main source of his $US188.5 billion net worth is his large stakes in them. Tesla’s stock surged by more than 700% in 2020, making it the world’s most valuable automaker by far.
And a Thursday morning stock rally was what allowed Musk to overtake Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos as the wealthiest person on the planet. Bezos had held the title since 2017.
The entrepreneur also benefits from a highly complex compensation package that awards him stock when Tesla achieves certain goals. That made Musk the highest-paid executive in 2020.
Musk claims to have ambitious plans for spending his extraordinary wealth. On Thursday, he changed the pinned post on his Twitter profile to a 2018 tweet promising to dedicate his money to problems on Earth and to establishing a colony on Mars.
About half my money is intended to help problems on Earth & half to help establish a self-sustaining city on Mars to ensure continuation of life (of all species) in case Earth gets hit by a meteor like the dinosaurs or WW3 happens & we destroy ourselves
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 12, 2018