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Tesla gets Kathleen Wilson-Thompson and billionaire Larry Ellison on board as independent directors

Dublin, Wednesday 31th October 2013: Pictured at the The Web Summit 2013, RDS. Photo by Dan Taylor/Heisenberg Media

Tesla brought two very high profile directors on board – Oracle Chairman and billionare, Larry Ellison and Walgreens Executive Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, as a part of the settlement reached with the US Securities and Exchange Commission back in September.

Elon Musk’s scandalous tweets about securing financial backing worth $ 82 billion required to take the company private caused a major disruption in the stock market. Due to this, the SEC penalized him by asking him to step down from the Chairman position and required Tesla to appoint two new directors to its board. The company was also made to pay up a fine of $ 20 million as a part of the settlement.

Kathleen, a Wayne State University Law School graduate, served as Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Kellogs and Walgreen Company before taking on the role of Executive Vice President and Global Chief Human Resources Officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. She is also a current board member at Vulcan Materials Company.

Larry Ellison – the fifth richest man in the United States according to Forbes, is the Co-founder, Executive Chairman, and Chief Technological Officer of Oracle Corporation. The relationship between Ellison and Tesla goes way back. He claimed Tesla to be his second largest investment and also purchased 3 million shares in the company earlier this year. He is also a longtime friend of Elon and even came out to his defense during the scandal.


“He’s landing rockets on robot drone rafts in the ocean. And you’re saying he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Well, who else is landing rockets? You ever land a rocket on a robot drone? Who are you?”

Larry Ellison

The Tesla board wanted candidates with a wide range of skill sets from across the globe who also shared their strong passion for Tesla’s missions.


“In conducting a widespread search over the last few months, we sought to add independent directors with skills that would complement the current board’s experience. In Larry and Kathleen, we have added a preeminent entrepreneur and a human resources leader, both of whom have a passion for sustainable energy,” 


Tesla’s Board of Directors said in a prepared statement.

Elon Musk still holds the CEO position and continues to be a board member. But to fill in his position of Chairman, Tesla appointed Robyn Denholm – CEO of Australia’s largest telecoms company, Tesltra.

Tesla always faced sharp criticism from people, claiming most of the board members very close friends and family to Elon. In response, the company had made attempts to diversify its board. In 2017, it appointed James Rupert Murdoch, CEO of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc., and Linda Johnson Rice, CEO of Johnson Publishing Company. And now the appointing of a new Chairman and the introduction of two new independent directors would go a long way in addressing the issues raised by the critics.

This news of hiring Larry Ellison and Kathleen Wilson-Thompson bolstered Tesla’s stocks, which rose by almost 8% from $ 306 to $ 330 in just over 24 hrs.