World’s Richest Person Title Shifts

Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, has lost his title as the world’s richest person to Bernard Arnault of LVMH after a Delaware judge voided Musk’s substantial performance-based Tesla options from 2018. Valued at over $50 billion, these options had propelled Musk to the top of the wealth rankings. Musk’s current estimated net worth is $184.5 billion, trailing behind Arnault ($210.8 billion) but still ahead of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos ($179 billion).

Court Ruling and Impact on Musk’s Net Worth

Delaware judge Kathaleen McCormick ruled that the process leading to Musk’s massive compensation was unfair due to conflicts of interest and Musk’s influence over the board. The options, worth $50.9 billion at the latest stock market close, cannot be exercised or sold. Forbes, anticipating uncertainty and a potential appeal, discounted Musk’s options by 50%, resulting in a $25.5 billion reduction in his net worth post-decision.

Potential Legal Challenges and Business Implications

Legal experts anticipate an appeal, acknowledging that Chancellor McCormick’s decision might receive deference from the Delaware Supreme Court. However, concerns linger about the decision’s impact on the business community and potential repercussions. Some speculate Tesla might devise a new pay package for Musk, ensuring a more rigorous process to withstand legal scrutiny. Tesla shareholders, whose stock appreciated significantly since 2018, haven’t responded positively to the court’s decision, with Tesla shares trading down 0.8% post-announcement.

Musk’s Response and Future Scenarios

Musk, known for his outspoken nature, could demand a new pay package if the current one is entirely struck down. Legal experts suggest predicting the differences in a potential new package remains challenging. Musk had expressed his desire for more Tesla shares before the ruling, emphasizing the need for significant voting control. If the decision stands on appeal, Musk’s stake in Tesla would drop from 22% to 13%.


Elon Musk’s loss of the Tesla pay package reshapes the global wealth hierarchy. Legal battles, potential appeals, and Tesla’s response will determine Musk’s financial standing and influence on the company in the coming months. The ongoing saga underscores the intricate relationship between executive compensation, legal scrutiny, and shareholder sentiments.

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Saiba Verma, an accomplished editor with a focus on finance and market trends, contributes to Atom News with a dedication to providing insightful and accurate business news. Saiba Verma analytical approach adds depth to our coverage, keeping our audience well-informed.