Tesla’s biggest retail shareholder is voting against Elon Musk’s $55 billion package

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Tesla’s biggest retail shareholder, Leo Koguan, confirmed that he is voting against Elon Musk’s $55 billion package and the re-election of two board members.

We first reported on Koguan in 2021 when the little-known investor became the third largest individual shareholder in Tesla behind Elon Musk and Larry Ellison.

The Indonesian-born Chinese American businessman is better known for founding SHI International Corp, a large private IT company that made him a billionaire. He is also involved in academia and philanthropy.

Koguan has previously described himself as an “Elon fanboy” (the featured image above is him and Musk) and believes in Tesla’s mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. He has been willing to put his money on it and by 2022, he had invested more money in Tesla than Musk himself.

Of course, Musk invested early in Tesla, and therefore, he holds a bigger share with a smaller investment.

Koguan is the third largest individual shareholder in the company, but you could argue that he is the biggest Tesla investor as he invested more than anyone in the company: $3.5 billion.

In comparison, Musk’s net invesment in Tesla is now negative after he sold tens of billions of dollars worth of stocks to buy Twitter.

Koguan hasn’t sold. In fact, he recently bought more shares – bringing his total to over 27 million shares. This makes him an important player in the upcoming shareholders votes that Tesla’s board announced this week.

Tesla has asked investors to reinstate Elon Musk’s $55 billion CEO compensation package after it was invalidated by the board over governance issues at Tesla. The automaker is also seeking the re-election of Kimbal Musk, Elon’s brother, and James Murdock, a friend of Elon, to the board of directors.

We previously reported on Koguan being frustrated with those governance issues. He recently said that “Tesla is a family business masquerading as a public company” – in reference to Musk doing whatever he wants.

As the biggest retail shareholder in Tesla, Koguan says that he has been unable to get in touch with the board to communicate his concerns.

Following the release of Tesla’s proxy, Electrek asked Koguan how he plans to vote his more than 27 million Tesla shares, and the investor said that he plans to vote against Musk’s compensation package and against the re-election of Tesla’s two current board members.

Koguan is the largest Tesla investor to make his intention known, but as it is usually the case in shareholder votes, the institutional investors are expected to be the difference makers.

Screenshot

That said, Koguan’s Trsla position is bigger than some institutional shareholders, like T. Rowe Price.

Electrek’s Take

Koguan, like many other shareholders, is frustrated with Tesla’s board for not enforcing any rule for Elon Musk, who is now a part-time CEO with clear conflicts of interest at Tesla.

While the vote is technically strictly about Musk’s 2018 CEO compensation plan, many shareholders are using it as a vote of confidence for the CEO and the board and it is obviously scaring the board since they launched a website to try to convince shareholders and the board already disclosed discussions with institutional shareholders.

Outside of X, it seems like the shareholder sentiment is clearly with Koguan, but Musk is really popular on the platform for obvious reasons. It will be interesting to see if the loud Tesla fans on X have the shares, or if it will even matter at all with institutional shareholders.

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