Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX and the richest person in history, was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2021 on Monday, capping a year of accomplishments and controversies for the billionaire.
This year SpaceX completed the first all-civilian mission to space and was selected by NASA to build a new lunar lander, while Tesla’s market cap reached over $1 trillion after a deal with Hertz, making Musk the richest person ever.
The magazine did not release a shortlist of contenders for the Person of the Year position, unlike in years past.
Last year the magazine co-named Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for the title.
Musk is a divisive figure. While his Time profile makes clear he is widely considered a visionary, it also mentions that his companies have faced allegations of racism and sexual harassment and been accused of poor working conditions, as well as extensive fines by regulators. As CNN pointed out, Time’s Person of the Year is “not necessarily considered an honor, since the selection could have wielded negative influence.” Past title holders include everyone from Greta Thunberg and Pope Francis to Vladimir Putin and even Adolf Hitler.
$265.4 billion. That’s Musk’s net worth as of Monday, according to Forbes.
The Time Person of the Year profile describes Musk a number of ways, including: “This is the man who aspires to save our planet and get us a new one to inhabit: clown, genius, edgelord, visionary, industrialist, showman, cad; a madcap hybrid of Thomas Edison, P.T. Barnum, Andrew Carnegie and Watchmen’s Doctor Manhattan, the brooding, blue-skinned man-god who invents electric cars and moves to Mars.”
“Elon Musk: Person of the Year 2021” (Time)
“Time 2021 Person of the Year: Elon Musk” (Today)