SEC filings have revealed that Tesla founder and CEO, Elon Musk, took a pay cut of over $78 million last year, returning all but $1 of his salary.

His base salary of $33,280 comes out to an average of $16 an hour for a 40 hour work week but it’s probably safe to assume he puts in a lot more than that. A $36,709 bonus brings his Tesla-based income to just under $70,000, and while this may be good living for the average citizen, but Mr. Musk decided it was too much and returned all but $1 to Tesla’s bank accounts.

This “generosity“ follows the example laid out by other executives that have agreed to work for a single greenback. Just a few of the big names that have worked for a single buck in the past; Sergey Brin, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt of Google, Apple’s Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame, Lee Iaccoca when he was the head of Chrysler, and even Arnold Schwarzenegger when he was the Governator. Just because they don’t get a paycheck doesn’t mean they’re strapped for cash, though, and what many of these CEO’s lose out in pay they receive back in costly perks like free air travel and security budgets.

Musk will also receive a prince’s ransom at the completion of his contract terms. The 10-year contract he signed with Tesla in 2013 will make the 42-year old Musk, who is already worth $10 billion, a total of $78.2 million richer, should he complete the outlined goals.

  • Launch of the Tesla Model X
  • A smaller second electric sedan
  • 300,000 Annual Tesla sales
  • Market capitalization of $43.2 Billion

Considering he has brought Tesla’s numbers up $21.9 Billion dollars in a single year ($3.9B in 2012 to $25.8B in 2013), he’s more than halfway there in terms of valuation. Tesla also plans to release both the Model E and Model X in the next two to three years. That leaves the only real hurdle to collecting all those millions, which is hitting the 300,000 annual sales mark.

Sources: Bloomberg