Elon Musk took the stand to defend his $56bn (£47.7m) Tesla pay package from 2018, saying the EV maker was his sole focus at the time.
“I was entirely focused on the execution of the company,” he told a US tribunal on Wednesday.
Musk was taken to court by a company shareholder who accused the serial entrepreneur of imposing himself on Tesla’s board to dictate the terms of his pay package, which only required him to work part-time.
To that, the billionaire replied: “I pretty much work all the time. I don’t know what a punch clock would achieve.”
The complainant – who is seeking to rescind the nine-figure salary – also accused Musk and Tesla of setting easy performance targets, Reuters first reported.
The billionaire’s pay is currently tied to how well Tesla performs, despite mounting calls for his salary to be linked also to the company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance.
Musk’s legal team argued that the package – which was bound to Tesla increasing its growth by a 10-fold to $600bn – was developed by independent board members.
The court case comes just as Tesla investors accused the billionaire of dropping the ball and focusing solely on Twitter’s $44bn takeover.
Taking place following a tug of war between the billionaire and Twitter’s board, Twitter’s chaotic buyout led to mass layoffs, a boom in fake yet verified accounts and advertisers dropping like flies.
Earlier this week, Musk tweeted he would remain in San Francisco until the company is fixed.
However, today he said in court he will eventually pivot away from the social media platform, finding a new leader to run it.
“There’s an initial burst of activity needed post-acquisition to reorganise the company,” he said in his testimony. “But then I expect to reduce my time at Twitter.”
As part of the restructuring, Musk told employees to either stay at the company and work “long hours at high intensity” or take a three-month severance package.
In the message – which was reported by the likes of the Washington Post – the new chief executive warned staff that anyone who didn’t state their willingness to “be part of the new Twitter” would receive the package.
City A.M. has approached both Tesla and Twitter for comment.