Elon Musk Fired Assistant After She Asked for a Raise

He determined the assistant of 12 years wasn't 'critical to his success.'

August 10, 2017 1:19 pm
Elon Musk, CEO and CTO of SpaceX, CEO and product architect of Tesla Motors, and chairman of SolarCity, was denied a tequila patent. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A billionaire’s assistant once asked for a raise and got a pink slip instead.

Elon Musk—the brilliant mind behind Hyperloop, SpaceX, and Tesla—fired his longtime assistant when she asked for a significant raise.According to Business Insider, Musk told Mary Beth Brown, his assistant of 12 years, to take two weeks off so he could assume her responsibilities to “see whether she was critical to his success.” The anecdote was recounted in Ashlee Vance’s 2015 biography, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future.

When Brown returned, she was told her work wasn’t needed. Musk felt her contributions weren’t enough to justify the raise she had asked for. According to Vance, Musk says he offered Brown another job after he fired her in 2014, but she didn’t return to the office.

The anecdote offers a peek into the mind of one of the most influential businessmen today and comes amid numerous stories about how tech companies are struggling to make their workplaces more diverse.

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