Tesla has added two new directors to its board in an effort to shake up the governing body that once consisted mainly of CEO Elon Musk’s close professional contacts.
The Palo Alto-based auto giant announced that Linda Johnson Rice, Chairman and CEO of Johnson Publishing Company, and James Murdoch, CEO of 21st Century Fox, would be added to the board of directors.
The amid a powerful investor’s request for a change up on the board. The California State Teachers’ Retirement System sent a letter a few months ago asking for two independent board seats.
Musk, however, said on twitter that the addition had nothing to do with the investor’s requests.
Besides, I already said we'd add more independent members during SCTY merger. Will announce soon, but this group has nothing to do with it.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 12, 2017
Tesla said that Rice, who is also head of Ebony Media Operations and Chairman Emeritus of EBONY Media Holdings, has “extensive corporate board experience, having previously served on the boards of a number of companies across a variety of industries.”
Murdoch, the son of famed Australian media titan Rupert Murdoch, held several leadership positions at 21st Century Fox over his 20-year career. According to Tesla, Murdoch’s addition had as much to do with his role in expanding the company’s impact on society as it does with his corporate experience.
“James has been instrumental in the company’s robust social impact initiatives, including its decade-long leadership on environmental sustainability,” Tesla said.
The board addition comes at a pivotal time for Tesla and Musk, as Model 3 production heats up and shaky stock prices continue to spur skeptics.
Over the weekend, Musk said at a National Governors Association meeting that Tesla’s stock was valued higher than the company deserved if based on past and present developments.
This provided more doubt throughout trading yesterday, with Musk clarifying that his company’s valuation should be linked with its potential instead of its track record.
I should clarify: Tesla stock is obviously high based on past & present, but low if you believe in Tesla's future. Place bets accordingly … https://t.co/4zbc6vqZSZ
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 17, 2017
Regardless of the company’s current valuation, Model 3 production will be considered a major test for Musk and his EV vision by investors.