Tesla Adds Two Independent Members to its Board, Including James Murdoch

Tesla has added two new independent directors to its board, a move CEO Elon Musk said he’d been working on since the electric vehicle manufacturer merged with his solar panel company SolarCity.

James Murdoch, the chief executive of 21st Century Fox and son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has joined the board of Tesla, after months of pressure from investors about the lack of independent directors on the electric vehicle company’s board.

Until now, Tesla’s board included five (of six total directors, prior to these additions) people with either personal or professional ties to Musk. Earlier this year, Tesla faced criticism from some shareholders who urged the company to change the way it elects board members, advocating for yearly elections rather than the company’s staggered-election practice.

In April, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and four other Tesla investors penned a letter to Antonio Gracias, Tesla’s lead independent director, calling for more independent members.

Several months later Musk said on Twitter that the investors in question “should buy Ford stock”.

Australian mogul James Murdoch has joined the board of Tesla, the electric auto company headed by billionaire Elon Musk.

He previously was the conglomerate’s co-COO, chairman and CEO for Europe and Asia, as well as chairman of BSkyB, Sky Deutschland, and Sky Italia, the businesses that now comprise Sky plc. James claims an “instrumental” role in 21st Century Fox’s “decade-long leadership on environmental sustainability” in his Tesla board member bio.

Murdoch is the son of Fox Co-Chairman Rupert Murdoch, and Rice has chaired the publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines since 2010.