Elon Musk was named Time Person of the Year for 2021 on Monday.
In a statement, Time editor in chief and CEO Edward Felsenthal wrote that the recognition “is a marker of influence, and few individuals have had more influence than Musk on life on Earth, and potentially life off Earth too. In 2021, Musk emerged not just as the world’s richest person but also as perhaps the richest example of a massive shift in our society.”
The cover story dedicated to Musk pointed out that he is the CEO of Tesla, an electric vehicle company, and SpaceX, a space flight company. His tweets regularly impact the price of cryptocurrency and he has been selling off his fortune recently, though he remains the world’s richest man.
Time’s Molly Ball, Jeffrey Kluger and Alejandro de la Garza wrote the story, which read: “How many will leave a mark on the world — much less the universe — for their contributions rather than their crimes? A few short years ago, Musk was roundly mocked as a crazy con artist on the verge of going broke. Now this shy South African with Asperger’s syndrome, who escaped a brutal childhood and overcame personal tragedy, bends governments and industry to the force of his ambition. To Musk, his vast fortune is a mere side effect of his ability not just to see but to do things others cannot, in arenas where the stakes are existential.”
In an interview with the magazine for the feature, Musk was open about his plans for SpaceX and Tesla, his “semi-separated” relationship with musician Grimes and his opinion of President Joe Biden. The president, he said, isn’t doing “an amazing job,” but then again, “it’s hard to tell.”
The Heroes of the Year are vaccine scientists and the Entertainer of the Year is singer and songwriter Olivia Rodrigo.