Oracle co founder Larry Ellison joins Tesla board
Tesla has appointed Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison and Walgreens Boots Alliance executive Kathleen Wilson-Thompson to its board. The move further strengthens the board as pledged by founder Elon Musk to the Securities and Exchanges Commission.
The SEC fined Mr Musk over misleading tweets that he had funding to take Tesla private. Investors greeted the news by sending Tesla shares up more than 4% in morning Friday trading.
Elon Musk remains as chief executive although he agreed with the SEC in October he would step down as chairman.
Larry Ellison is the co-founder and chairman of enterprise cloud software firm Oracle – currently the third largest software maker in the world after Microsoft and Google owner Alphabet.
He already owns three million shares of Tesla stock and is a close friend of Mr Musk.
Iron Man cameo
Actor Robert Downey Jr modelled the character of Tony Stark on Mr Musk for the film Iron Man in 2008, and in 2010, Mr Musk and Mr Ellison famously made cameo appearances in Iron Man 2 as fellow tech billionaires.
Kathleen Wilson-Thompson is the global head of human resources at international pharmacy chain Walgreens Boots Alliance, and was previously an executive at Kellogg.
The new appointments follow November’s move by Tesla to appoint Australian telecoms executive Robyn Denholm as its new chairman.
‘False and misleading’
In August, Mr Musk posted a tweet saying that he had secured funding to take the electric car maker off the stock market and make it a private company.
He claimed that the funding proposal would value Tesla at $420 per share. Shares in the company briefly rose after his announcement, but later fell again.
The SEC said the claim was “false and misleading”, and decided to sue him for alleged securities fraud.
Although he agreed to step down as chairman and pay a $20m (£15m) settlement fine, Mr Musk said recently that he does not respect the SEC.
The SEC settlement follows a turbulent year for Tesla and Mr Musk.
In February, Tesla reported a record quarterly loss, partly caused by the carmaker’s revamp of its manufacturing process to boost output of the Model 3.
The revamp was needed after a surge of orders in 2017 saw it struggling to meet manufacturing targets and deliver cars to customers.
This prompted worries about Tesla’s finances and fanned concerns that customers would get impatient and cancel their bookings.
In June, Tesla cut 9% of its workforce as part of a restructuring intended to reduce costs and boost profitability. In October the carmaker reported a quarterly profit for just the third time in its 15-year history.
In a striking and emotional interview to the New York Times in August, Mr Musk said he had not been on drugs when he posted the tweets about taking Tesla private.
He did however say that he was exhausted after working 120 hour weeks, and that the past year had been the “most difficult and painful” of his career.