Tesla Adds Larry Ellison, Musk’s ‘Close Friend,’ to Board

Tesla named a pair of new independent directors, including Oracle Corp. Chairman and tech-industry luminary Larry Ellison, to a board that has been under fire for its oversight of Chief Executive Elon Musk, Wall Street Journal reported.

Tesla said Ellison, who has been a public booster of the electric-car maker, and Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, the global head of human resources for Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., joined its board on Thursday.

Their addition fulfills the terms of Tesla’s September agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle claims that Musk misled investors when he claimed this year to have funding to take the Silicon Valley auto maker private.

The additions bring to 10 the number of active directors on Tesla’s board, which last year added two other outsiders to a group stacked with longtime Musk allies. An 11th director has been on leave since last year.

The naming of Ellison and Wilson-Thompson follows the elevation to chairman in November of Robyn Denholm, a veteran finance executive who joined Tesla’s board four years ago. The replacement of Musk as chairman fulfilled another requirement of the regulatory settlement.

Ellison, who co-founded enterprise software giant Oracle in 1977 and is one of the best-known executives in Silicon Valley, has expressed support for Mr. Musk, disclosing in October that Tesla was his second-largest personal investment. “I’m very close friends with Elon Musk, and I’m a big investor in Tesla,” Ellison said at an Oracle analysts’ conference in which he lashed out at critics of the Tesla chief’s management.

Tesla said on Friday that Ellison had purchased 3 million shares in Tesla earlier this year. That translates to about $1 billion at the stock’s current price, the Journal adds. Wilson-Thompson was a 17-year veteran of Kellogg Co. before joining Walgreens in 2010. She serves on two other boards, at construction materials company Vulcan Materials Co. and specialty-chemicals supplier Ashland Global Holdings Inc.

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