Murdoch and Rice will serve as independent board directors.

Tesla has added two new independent directors to its board, a move CEO Elon Musk said he’d been working on since the electric vehicle manufacturer merged with his solar panel company SolarCity.

Joining the now nine member board are two media executives, Linda Johnson Rice — the CEO of Johnson Publishing Company as well as the CEO of Ebony Media Operations — and 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch.

A group of influential investors called for the addition of independent board members back in April, criticizing Tesla’s board for the conflict of interest posed by the close ties many of the members have with Musk.

The board consists of Musk’s brother Kimbal Musk, former SolarCity CFO Brad Buss, SpaceX investor Ira Ehrenpreis, SpaceX board member, Draper Fisher Jurvetson partner Steve Jurvetson, another SpaceX board member Antonio Gracias, and COO of telecom company Tesltra Robyn Denholm.

In a letter to Gracias, which Bloomberg first reported, these investors wrote:

“Directors should be held to a higher standard of independence given the conflicts of interest that permeate this board. A thoroughly independent board would provide a critical check on possible dysfunctional group dynamics, such as groupthink.”

Musk responded by first chiding these investors, which include the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and CtW Investment Group, and then saying the company was already seeking independent board members.

Besides, I already said we’d add more independent members during SCTY merger. Will announce soon, but this group has nothing to do with it.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 12, 2017

In addition to serving as CEO of Johnson Publishing Company and Ebony Media Operations, Rice also has served on the boards of companies like Bausch & Lomb, Continental Bank, Quaker Oats, Dial Corporation, Moneygram and Omnicom Group.

Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch, has worked his way through 21st Century Fox — which owns Fox News — previously serving as the co-COO and CEO for Europe and Asia as well as for some of the Sky network properties across Europe.

The company is currently in the midst of an attempt to attain approval to buy out the rest of the Sky network in Europe but has come up against resistance from regulators in the United Kingdom who argue they could use the network’s trove of data for political ends.


Recode – All Go to Source
Author: Johana Bhuiyan

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