Tesla has added two new directors to its board.
Linda Johnson Rice is the Chairman and CEO of Johnson Publishing Company, Fashion Fair Cosmetics and Ebony Media Holdings. She has extensive experience serving on corporate boards across a wide variety of industries, including Bausch & Lomb, Quaker Oats, Dial and Kimberly-Clark.
The other new director is more of a surprise pick: James Murdoch, CEO of 21st Century Fox and the son of media mogul and conservative kingmaker Rupert Murdoch. The younger Murdoch gained notoriety in the press for his involvement in the News of the World’s 2011 phone hacking scandal.
Earlier this year, after the announcement of Tesla’s SolarCity acquisition, several of the company’s major investors, including the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, criticized Tesla’s board for being too cozy with CEO Elon Musk, and called for new independent members to join the board. Until now, Tesla’s board consisted of six directors, five of whom have either personal or professional ties to Musk.
Tesla soon began looking for new independent board members – although the company claims that the search preceded the criticism. Musk tweeted in April that the activist shareholder group had “nothing to do” with the decision to appoint the new directors.