In compliance with an SEC settlement, Tesla named Larry Ellison and Kathleen Wilson-Thompson to its board as new independent directors on Friday. Ellison, co-founder of Oracle Corp., and Wilson-Thompson, global chief human resources officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., join the board following the Securities and Exchange Commission orders to increase its oversight after Elon Musk claimed to have the funding and investor support for a buyout in August. The chief executive officer relinquished the role of chairman in November, meanwhile Musk and the company both agreed to pay $20 million in penalties.
“I am very close friends to Elon Musk and I am a very big investor in Tesla,” Ellison said at a financial analyst meeting at the Oracle OpenWorld conference in October.
Musk landed another huge technology titan with Ellison, lauding for his business accomplishments, though he too has his own corporate-governance controversies. Ellison received criticism from Oracle shareholders for “excessive pay packages while running the company.” He also publicly defended Musk regarding his tweet about taking Tesla private, which landed him in hot water with the SEC.
“You are telling me he is an idiot. I just want to know who you are so I know why I should believe you as opposed to my friend Elon,” Ellison said at the time in defense of his friend.
“His vocal support for Musk doesn’t suggest the kind of objectivity coming in that I think people had hoped for,” said Charles Elson, director of the John L. Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. “The SEC’s point was to bring in two people who were neither supporters nor vocal opponents of Tesla.”