Tesla appoints James Murdoch and Linda Johnson Rice to its board

By Prasun Bose

Tesla has appointed James Murdoch and Linda Johnson Rice to its board in a move believed to quieten investor discontent at the perceived closeness of its current members to founder Elon Musk.

Murdoch - Twenty First Century Fox Chief Executive and son of media magnate Rupert - and Rice – Chairman and CEO of Johnson Publishing Co. – join the board as Tesla seeks members that are "independent" of Musk.

Previously, five of the six Tesla board members had either personal or professional ties to Musk - one of whom was his brother, Kimbal. 

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This provoked a letter from a group of investors that asked for the addition of members who had no links or ties to Musk or any of his businesses.

In response, Musk tweeted in May: "I already said we'd add more independent members during the SolarCity merger. We're going to announce this soon, but this group has nothing to do with it."

Tesla welcomed the two new arrivals in a statement, noting Johnson Rice's "extensive corporate board experience, having previously served on the boards of a number of companies across a variety of industries."

"Meanwhile, James Murdoch has been instrumental in the company’s robust social impact initiatives, including its decade-long leadership on environmental sustainability."

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