Tesla names Oracle’s Larry Ellison, Walgreens executive to board as part of SEC settlement



Tesla has additional two independent directors to a board — Oracle founder, chairman and CTO Larry Ellison and Walgreens executive Kathleen Wilson-Thompson — within a settlement with U.S. securities authorities over CEO Elon Musk’s notorious tweets about taking the company private.

The pair joined the board as of December 27, Tesla said in an announcement early Friday morning.  Kathleen Wilson-Thompson is now executive vice president and global chief human resources officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance. She sits on public boards in the two U.S.-based production companies.

The Tesla board, led by its Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, said it considered candidates with a “broad assortment of ability sets” from throughout the planet who also hold a strong personal opinion in Tesla’s responsibility of hastening the world’s transition into sustainable energy.

Ellison isn’t just a Tesla “believer,” that he ’s also a friend and founder of Musk. Ellison arrived into Musk’s defense through an analyst meeting in October and revealed Tesla is his second investment. Ellison purchased 3 million Tesla stocks earlier this season.

The Oracle creator also spent $1.9 million to get a microgrid energy system from Tesla at 2017 for a greenhouse farming project from Lanai, according to a regulatory filing. The farming endeavor is part of the following Ellison firm named Sensei he co-founded with friend  David Agus, an author and professor of medicine at USC.

Sensei is a new L.A.-based health brand that will concentrate on developing hydroponic farms. Its first project involves building a hydroponic farm of undisclosed size to the Hawaiian island of Lanai, which Ellison obtained for $300 million back in 2012. Sensei president Dan Gruneberg advised TechCrunch the farm will concentrate on nutrition per acre, a selling point for those fruits and veggies it intends to market to retailers and restaurants under the brand Sensei Farms.

“In managing a widespread hunt over the past couple of weeks, we had to add individual directors with skills that could complement the present board’s experience. In Larry and Kathleen, we’ve added a preeminent entrepreneur and a human capital leader, both of whom possess a passion for sustainable energy,” Tesla’s Board of Directors said in a prepared statement.

The appointments closes a stunning season for Tesla and Musk, that reached a settlement with the SEC at September that included he step down as chairman of the board and pay a $20 million fine. The SEC filed a complaint earlier this year alleging that Musk lied when he tweeted August 7 he had “funding procured ” for a private takeover of the company at $420 a share.

Musk has stayed CEO and still has a seat on the board. Tesla also consented to name just two independent directors to the board.

Tesla paid a different $20 million penalty. The SEC said the charge and fine against Tesla is for failing to require disclosure controls and procedures about Musk’s tweets.

Tesla’s fulfillment of the deal with the SEC marks the beginning of a new age of corporate governance such as Tesla, which some investors have argued is too closely controlled by Musk and many others firmly aligned into him, such as his brother Kimbal Musk.

In 2017, Tesla diversified its board and also added James Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc., and Linda Johnson Rice, chairman and CEO of Johnson Publishing Company.

Additional board members include: Robyn Denholm, who joined the board from 2014; Brad W. Buss, that was around since 2009; Antonio Gracias; and Ira Ehrenpreis, one of longest-serving board members, who combined in 2007. Denholm was called Tesla chairman at October.

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