Ex-Tesla Top Lawyer Gets $ 30 Million to Join Startup Luminar

Provided by Luminar Technologies Inc. its new chief legal officer Alan Prescott of nearly $ 30 million in total compensation last year to lure him away from Tesla Inc.

Prescott, a former safety engineer and in-house attorney at Ford Motor Co., has served as senior counsel for autonomous vehicles at Uber Technologies Inc. before he joined Tesla in 2017. Served as acting general counsel and corporate secretary for the Elon Musk-owned. electric automaker in late 2019.

Tesla is just one of several Musk -controlled entities that have rotated with law department heads in recent years.

Luminar is a laser sensor startup backed by billionaire Peter Thiel that went public in 2020 by merging with a special purpose acquisition company. Luminar hired Prescott last year to be its chief legal officer and corporate secretary.

The company declined to discuss Prescott’s salary package, which was disclosed in a 10-K filed on March 1.

The bulk of Prescott’s compensation consists of more than $ 29.5 million in stock awards. A source familiar with the matter said it represents a target cumulative over six years, not Prescott’s compensation for one year.

The salary is equal to that received by some heads of the law department in new public companies.

Prescott, whose first day at Luminar was April 26, was given a new hire initial equity grant in addition to long -term stock incentives, the source said, adding that most of Mehta’s salary is tied to the company’s growth. The source said Prescott’s mix of cash and stock compensation roughly matches what he has at Tesla and is required to bring in a lawyer with his expertise in the automotive industry.

Luminar paid nearly $ 205,700 in cash to Prescott last year. His employment agreement with the company — amended in November — shows that he is entitled to a $ 300,000 annual base salary with a $ 50,000 bonus. Prescott currently owns more than $ 21.5 million in Luminar stock, according to Bloomberg data.

Prescott spent a decade at Ford, where he oversaw product development and doing legal work and served as special counsel to the automotive giant’s general counsel, according to his biography on Luminar’s 10-K.

Uber hired Prescott in 2016 to lead its advanced technology team, a role he saw to oversee commercial, cybersecurity, litigation, privacy, and regulation for the ridesharing company. Uber sold its former self-driving unit last year.

New technology

Luminar, with offices in Boston, Colorado Springs, Colo .; Orlando, Fla .; and Palo Alto, Calif., saw its stock price rise earlier this year after German auto giant Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz opened plans to buy a stake in the company and use its technology for next generation of its vehicles.

Luminar specializes in perception software and lidar, short for light detection and ranging, a sensor technology used in self-driving vehicles.

Musk, Tesla’s CEO and “technoking,” according to the company’s latest proxy statement, is openly skeptical of lidar, despite a Bloomberg News report last year about Tesla having a contract to test the technology of Luminar in its vehicles.

Since Prescott was hired nearly a year ago, Luminar has made other legal additions, including the landing of former Tesla chief intellectual property consultant Christopher Lubeck in September as head of Its IP. Lubeck was most recently a senior director and head of patents and open source at software company ServiceNow Inc.

Alexander Phillips, a vice president of legal at computer networking company Netgear Inc., also joined Luminar last year as an associate general counsel and head of corporate. Phillips began his career as an associate at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, whose chair Katharine Martin was named to Luminar’s board last year.

Luminar’s 10-K shows that Martin received nearly $ 636,000 in total compensation last year including all but approximately $ 58,000 of that amount coming in the form of stock awards. Wilson Sonsini provided “minimal legal services” to Luminar and CEO Austin Russell before Martin joined the board, the filing company said. Wilson Sonsini is no longer working for Luminar, the company said.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, who advised Luminar on going into its public transaction with Gores Metropoulos Inc., is now the primary advisor outside the company. Orrick represented Luminar in December on a $ 625 million convertible notes offer to help fund share buybacks.

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