Earlier this year, Tesla’s board of directors was criticized after the announcement of Tesla’s intended acquisition of SolarCity due to most of the members having ties to CEO Elon Musk, who was also SolarCity’s biggest investors at the time. Some called for new independent board members to join Tesla’s board.
Soon after, Tesla announced that they were looking for new independent board members – though they claim that their search preceded the criticisms.
Today, the company announced the appointments of two new board members.
Linda Johnson Rice, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Johnson Publishing Company (JPC), is joining Tesla’s board of directors.
The company joined a quick bio to a press release about her appointment to their board:
In addition to her role as Chairman and CEO of JPC and Fashion Fair Cosmetics, Linda is CEO of Ebony Media Operations and Chairman Emeritus of EBONY Media Holdings, the parent company for the EBONY and Jet brands. Linda has extensive corporate board experience, having previously served on the boards of a number of companies across a variety of industries, including Bausch & Lomb, Continental Bank, Quaker Oats, Dial Corporation, MoneyGram and Kimberly-Clark Corporation, and currently serving on the boards of Omnicom Group and Grubhub. Linda is a Trustee at the Art Institute of Chicago, President of the Chicago Public Library Board of Directors, Council Member of The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and board member of After School Matters and Northwestern Memorial Corporation.
The other new director might come more as a surprise. James Murdoch, Chief Executive Officer of 21st Century Fox (21CF) and the son of famed media mogul Rupert Murdoch, is joining the board. The executive is probably better known for his involvement in the News of the World’s phone hacking scandal.
Tesla describes him:
“Before becoming CEO of 21CF in 2015, James held a number of leadership roles at the company over a two-decade career. He previously served as its Co-Chief Operating Officer, Chairman and CEO for Europe and Asia, as well as Chairman of BSkyB, Sky Deutschland, and Sky Italia, the businesses that now comprise Sky plc. He also served as CEO of BSkyB and STAR, India’s entertainment leader. In addition to being a key driver of 21CF’s domestic and international expansion, James has been instrumental in the company’s robust social impact initiatives, including its decade-long leadership on environmental sustainability. James and his wife, Kathryn Murdoch, are founders of a family foundation, Quadrivium, which supports initiatives involving natural resources, science, civic life, childhood health, and equal opportunity.”
They will be joining board members Antonio J. Gracias, Ira Ehrenpreis, Brad W. Buss, Robyn M. Denholm and Steve Jurvetson in that order on the picture below.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk also sits on the board as Chairman and his brother, Kimbal Musk, is also a director.
The two new members are considered “independent members” of the board and they have no direct links to Musk either through family or through investments in Musk’s other venture, SpaceX.