Tesla and spaceX CEO Elon Musk has topped the list of the most highly compensated CEOs on the Fortune 500 in 2021.

After Musk, the 10 most highly compensated Fortune 500 CEOs of 2021 are all tech and biotech CEOs, including the heads of Apple (Tim Cook), Netflix (Reed Hastings), and Microsoft (Satya Nadella).

Elon Musk and Tim Cook

In 2021, Musk "realised" compensation worth almost $23.5 billion, from exercising some Tesla stock options awarded in a 2018 multiyear "moonshot" grant.

That was -- by far -- the biggest CEO payday in 2021, according to Fortune.

Elon Musk
Elon MuskIANS

Tesla ranked 65 on this year's Fortune 500. The company had a blockbuster in 2021, bringing in $53.8 billion in revenue, up 71 per cent from 2020.

Meanwhile, the Apple CEO earned $770.5 million in 2021 alone, mostly as a part of a 10-year grant of shares worth $1.7 billion. The tech giant ranks 3 on the Fortune 500.

The company faced challenges because of the global chip shortage, but successfully began manufacturing the equipment in-house, the report said.

Hang, the co-founder of NVIDIA, and Reed Hastings of Netflix bagged third and fourth spots, respectively.