Tesla investors (NASDAQ: TSLA) are advised not to re-elect Kimbal Musk or James Murdoch in the coming Annual Shareholder Meeting by proxy advisor Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS). Because Musk and Murdoch received large compensation packages from Tesla’s board, ISS believes the two non-executive board members do not present any advantages to the automaker’s general Governance.
Musk, being the brother of CEO Elon Musk, has overwhelming support from most investors due to his family ties. Kimbal has spent much of his career in the restaurant business, acting on the board of Chipotle Mexican Grille from 2013 to 2019. He is also the founder of an indoor food growing operation called Square Roots. Murdoch is the son of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch and once held the position of CEO of 21st Century Fox. Musk and Murdoch have been on Tesla’s board since 2004 and 2017, respectively.
A 14A filing with the SEC from late August showed that Kimbal Musk and Murdoch were nominated for re-election as Class II directors. “A discussion of the qualifications, attributes, and skills of each nominee that led the Board and the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee to the conclusion that he should continue to serve as a director follows each of the director and nominee biographies,” the filing said.
Despite their years of service to the Tesla board, ISS believes the two current board members are entitled to excessive payouts from company performance-based incentive plans. “Votes AGAINST directors James Murdoch and Kimbal Musk are warranted due to concerns regarding excessive compensation to named executive officers and to non-executive directors,” ISS said in a note to investors, according to Reuters.
ISS says that Kimbal’s payout package is supplemented by the fact that he also does not serve on any board committees. Meanwhile, Murdoch service on Audit and Governance Committees. According to the ISS note, the Audit Committee pledged a large sum of company stock to directors, which raised questions regarding its risk oversight. The Governance Committee failed to react appropriately to last year’s Shareholder proposal, which was supported by the majority of voters.
The Tesla Board will change at the upcoming Shareholder’s meeting. It will shrink from nine members to eight following the departure of director Antonio Gracias, who agreed in part with the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee to leave the company, according to the 14A filing with the SEC.
Ultimately, Tesla shareholders will have the final say in what happens with Kimbal Musk and Murdoch. Tesla will hold its 2021 Annual Shareholder meeting on October 7th, 2021, and all stockholders will be able to vote. Last year’s meeting saw Elon Musk remain CEO due to a 98.8% vote that approved his position. For the first time, the Shareholder Meeting will be held at Gigafactory Texas in a virtual fashion.
Disclosure: Joey Klender is a TSLA Shareholder.
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