is adding two new executives from major media companies as directors after investorsthe electric-car maker to diversify a board with members who aren’t closely tied to Elon Musk.
James Rupert Murdoch, the chief executive officer of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc., and Linda Johnson Rice, the chairman of Johnson Publishing Co., will join Tesla’s board, according to a company blog post. Murdoch is son of Fox Co-Chairman Rupert Murdoch, and Rice has chaired the publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines since 2010.
The two new directorships come after months of pressure from a group of pension funds that urged Tesla to add more independent directors and to hold elections for its directors every year instead of in staggered three-year terms. Though the measure to declassify the board, the company did seek to hire directors who lacked connections to Musk, either through his rocket company SpaceX or SolarCity, the company run by his cousin until Tesla’s controversial acquisition last year.
Tesla’s board is comprised of Musk, his brother, Kimbal Musk; Antonio Gracias, the founder of a private-equity firm and a director at Musk’s rocket company SpaceX; Ira Ehrenpreis, a venture capitalist and SpaceX investor; Brad Buss, a former SolarCity chief financial officer; Steve Jurvetson, a venture investor and SpaceX director; and Robyn Denholm, the chief operating officer of Telstra Corp., Australia’s largest telecommunications company.
In April, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and four other Tesla investors wrote a letter to Gracias, Tesla’s lead independent director, saying that the board needed more independent members. Musk said on Twitter shortly after that he was planning to add two new board members and that the board expansion had nothing to do with the letter from the pension funds.