Tesla names Oracle founder Larry Ellison to board as part of SEC settlement

Larry Ellison founded Oracle in 1977.

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Larry Ellison founded Oracle in 1977.
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Kimberly White/Getty Images

Tesla said in a filing on Friday that it had named two new directors to its board, the Oracle founder Larry Ellison and the Walgreens executive Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, fulfilling the another of its promises from a $20 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in September.

In early November, Tesla announced that Robyn Denholm would take over as chair from CEO Elon Musk. The company said the two new appointments were effective as of Thursday.

“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,” the board said in a press release. “In Larry and Kathleen, we have added a preeminent entrepreneur and a human resources leader, both of whom have a passion for sustainable energy.”

Wilson-Thompson, who spent 17 years at Kellogg, is an executive vice president and global human-resources officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance. She also serves on the boards of Ashland, a chemicals company, and Vulcan Materials Company, a construction firm.

Tesla’s board described Ellison as a “big believer” in its mission, as he bought 3 million shares of the company earlier this year. The philanthropist has been outspoken in his support of Musk and the proliferation of clean-energy innovations across the world, including on his island in Hawaii.

Wall Street was optimistic about the appointments, with shares of Tesla spiking as much as 3.9% in early trading on Friday following the announcement. Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, said the news was another “key step forward” for Tesla and Musk.

“Mr. Ellison is a founder of one of the most successful technology stalwarts in the world in Oracle and helped build the company from the ground up,” Ives said in a note to clients Friday.

“Having him on the Board will be an asset for Tesla and Musk in our opinion and also could help channel Musk’s energy and passion into positives going forward thus moving further away from the ‘going private tweetstorm’ from a few months ago, which continues to be a lingering overhang on the name.”

View the full list of Tesla’s directors »

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