Tesla announced plans Tuesday to place the son of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch on the electric automaker’s board.
CEO Elon Musk appointed 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch and Ebony Media Chairman Linda Johnson Rice to the Silicon Valley company’s board. The move was meant to alleviate concerns that Tesla’s board of directors is too heavily reliant on people with deep personal ties to Musk.
Several investment groups called for Tesla to shake up its board of directors in early April. Investors from California State Teachers Retirement System and CtW Investment Group said at the time that the maker of the Model S should create a barrier between the board and Musk, who owns more than 20 percent of the company.
Tesla’s board is a “who’s who” of Musk affiliates — it includes Musk’s brother Kimbal Musk, as well as Brad Buss, who served as chief financial officer at SolarCity, a solar panel provider that Tesla acquired last year. Musk owned nearly 19 percent of SolarCity before the companies merged.
One of Musk’s cousins, Lyndon Riven, left the massive electric car producer earlier this year to create his own tech company. Riven, who helped found SolarCity in 2006, said at the time that he wanted to spend more time with his family.
James Murdoch, who serves on the board of News Corp, replaced his father as CEO of Fox in 2015. He joins Rice on the board. She has been active on other boards, including as a director for Internet company GrubHub. She becomes Tesla’s second female director.
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