James Murdoch joins Tesla's board after pressure from investors

James Murdoch joins Tesla's board after pressure from investors

Tesla is adding two new executives from major media companies as directors after investors pressured the electric-car maker to diversify a board with members who aren't closely tied to Elon Musk.

Along with Murdoch, Tesla also added to its board Linda Johnson Rice, the CEO of Johnson Publishing Co. and Ebony Media Operations and chairman emeritus of Ebony Media Holdings, the parent of Ebony and Jet magazine brands.

Tesla Inc. said on Monday that it had appointed two new directors to its board, including Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.

The move comes after Telsa, founded in 2003, has been criticized for lacking independent directors on its board. Musk said via Twitter in April that the activist shareholder group had "nothing to do" with the decision to appoint these directors. 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 now serving on the boards of Omnicom Group and Grubhub.

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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. CEO James Murdoch, increasing its board size to nine. James Murdoch, who also serves on the board of News Corp and is the chairman of Sky PLC, replaced his father as CEO of Fox in 2015.

"James has been instrumental in the company's robust social impact initiatives, including its decade-long leadership on environmental sustainability", Tesla said in a post announcing the appointment.

At the time, the board consisted of Mr Musk, his brother Kimbal Musk, who is a director at Mr Musk's SpaceX firm, venture capitalist Ira Ehrenpreis, who is an investor in SpaceX, Steve Jurvetson, a director of SpaceX, Brad Buss, the former chief financial officer of a company bought by Tesla, and Robyn Denholm, the chief operating officer of Australian telecommunications firm Telstra.

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