Tesla has added two independent administrators to its committee — Oracle founder, chairman and CTO Larry Ellison and Walgreens executive Kathleen Wilson-Thompson — as part of a village with U.S. securities regulators over CEO Elon Musk’s infamous tweets about taking the company private.
The pair joined the board as of December 27, Tesla said in public announcements early Friday morning. Kathleen Wilson-Thompson is currently executive vice president and world chief human resources officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance. She likewise sits on public committees at two U.S.-based inventing companies.
The Tesla board, led by its Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, said it considered nominees with a” wide range of skills and abilities” from across the globe who likewise comprise a strong personal sentiment in Tesla’s mission of accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable energy.
Ellison isn’t just a Tesla ” believer ,” he’s also a pal and ally of Musk. Ellison came to Musk’s defense during an analyst session in October and disclosed that Tesla is his second-largest investment. Ellison bought 3 million Tesla shares earlier this year.
The Oracle founder likewise spent $1.9 million on a microgrid energy system from Tesla in 2017 for a greenhouse farming programme in Lanai, according to a regulatory filing. The farming project is part of another Ellison company called Sensei that he co-founded with friend David Agus, an writer and prof of medication at USC.
Sensei is a new L.A.-based wellness brand that will focus first on developing hydroponic farms. Its first programme involves building a hydroponic farm of undisclosed size on the Hawaiian island of Lanai, which Ellison acquired for $300 million back in 2012. Sensei president Dan Gruneberg told TechCrunch that the farm will concentrate on nutrition per acre, a selling level for the fruits and vegetables it plans to sell to restaurants and retailers under the brand Sensei Farms.
“In conducting a widespread search over the last few months, we sought to add independent administrators with skills that would complement the present board’s experience. In Larry and Kathleen, we have added a preeminent entrepreneur and a human resources president, both of whom have a passion for sustainable energy, ” Tesla’s Board of Directors said in a prepared statement.
The appointments closes a dramatic time for Tesla and Musk, who reached a settlement with the SEC in September that included he steps down as chairman of the board and pay a $20 million penalty. The SEC filed a complaint earlier this year alleging that Musk lied where reference is tweeted on August 7 that he had “funding secured” for a private takeover of the company at $420 per share.
Musk has remained CEO and still has a seat on the members of the committee. Tesla also agreed to name two independent administrators to the board.
Tesla paid a separate $20 million penalty. The SEC said the charge and penalty against Tesla is for failing to require revealing controls and procedures relating to Musk’s tweets.
Tesla’s fulfillment of the agreement with the SEC marks the beginning of a new period of corporate governance for Tesla, which some shareholders have argued is too tightly controlled by Musk and others closely aligned to him, such as two brothers Kimbal Musk.
In 2017, Tesla diversified its committee and added James Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc ., and Linda Johnson Rice, chairman and CEO of Johnson Publishing Company.
Other board members include: Robyn Denholm, who joined the board in 2014; Brad W. Buss, who has been on since 2009; Antonio Gracias; and Ira Ehrenpreis, one of longest-serving members of the security council, who joined in 2007. Denholm was named Tesla chairman in October.