By on December 28, 2018

Elon Musk

Tesla’s nine-member board now numbers eleven, with many shareholders hoping that the addition of two independent directors — a key directive of Tesla’s SEC settlement — helps keep a lid on CEO Elon Musk’s stock-rocking shenanigans.

Whether or not the two new members can actually do this remains to be seen. Musk continued antagonizing the Securities and Exchange Commission even after agreeing to the settlement that saw him removed as chairman, and he insists no one’s vetting his tweets. Speaking of ill-considered tweets, Musk’s lawyers claim the British cave diver suing Musk for defamation should just let it go.

Joining the board are Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle Corp., and Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, global PR chief for Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., Automotive News reports. The two will take their place at a table roundly viewed as being stocked with staunch Musk lapdogs loyalists — members who stuck by their CEO after his infamous go-private tweet of August 7th.

Many suggest that Ellison may be no different. In October, Ellison told an audience, “I’m very close friends with Elon Musk and I’m a big investor in Tesla.”

As part of the SEC settlement, which cost Tesla and Musk $20 million apiece, Musk transferred his chairman title to telecom exec and Tesla board member Robyn Denholm in November. He’s not allowed to wear that hat again for three years.

In a 60 Minutes interview airing earlier this month, Musk suggested his power remained undiluted and downplayed his influence on the company’s stock.

Musk’s capricious tweets might have earned him a slapdown from the U.S. securities regulator, but it also brought him perhaps the most avoidable lawsuit in history. Repeatedly, Musk tweeted that British diver Vernon Unsworth — a key figure in this year’s cave rescue of a trapped Thai soccer team — was a pedophile, providing no evidence for the claim. You’ll recall that this came after Unsworth suggested Musk should stick his homemade submarine where the sun don’t shine. Like a robin tugging a squirming worm from the fresh spring soil, Musk kept up the attacks, at one point daring Unsworth to sue him.

Unsworth filed suit in September, accusing Musk of libel and slander. He’s seeking at least $75,000 in damages.

On Wednesday, Musk’s lawyers filed a motion to dismiss the suit, essentially claiming that Twitter is silly and people say dumb things on it. And besides, no one took Musk seriously. According to CNBC, Musk’s legal representation said the CEO took to Twitter (“a social networking website infamous for invective and hyperbole”) to respond to Unsworth’s “indefensible and baseless attacks.”

Unsworth’s lawyer rejects this argument, claiming he expects the case to move forward.

[Image: Tesla]

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10 Comments on “Tesla Board Gains Two Watchdogs As Musk Seeks a Way Out of His Cave Mess...”

  • avatar
    pale ghost

    Ellison is no shrinking violet. I doubt Musk will be able to steamroll him.

    • 0 avatar

      Musk and Ellison are long time cronies.
      Both the new Tesla board members were on the board of Theranos, so well versed in “challenging” corporate situations.

    • 0 avatar

      Ellison is friends with St Elon, source Reuters today:

      “Ellison previously disclosed his stake in Tesla and defended Musk.

      “I’m very close friends with Elon Musk, and I’m a big investor in Tesla,” Ellison said on a Oct. 26 conference call with analysts.”

      Only 3 million shares in fact

      Yup, he’ll be an independent director sure enough.

  • avatar

    I hope Musk gets taken for multiple millions for doubling and tripling down on his tweet frenzy. Not cool.

  • avatar

    Elon and his empire are flame out city. He will be nothing by the end of 2019. Sure Tesla will survive by moving production to China and Space X will survive on the backs of the American Taxpayer since the OBummer killed NASA, but Elon will be on the trash bin of history.

    Did any one see the Boring company’s latest tunnel in South suburban LA county. The concrete work for the liner was so bad it made one journalist sick from the ups and downs. I’ve seen better concrete work in storwmater intercepts in 3rd world countries. If you want to see a tunnel, check out the Alva B. Adams water tunnel under Rocky Mountain National Park. And that was done 70 years ago.

    I guess $$ can hire artists, graphic designers and CGI people to make promotional material, and thats about it.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      SpaceX is paid by satellite mfrs for private missions, and by NASA to resupply the ISS. Like it or not, NASA is funded by the taxpayers.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Why does everyone claim NASA is dead. They have put multiple rovers on Mars recently, with each one progressively larger and more complicated, shot a satellite to Pluto and out into the Kuiper Belt. Sent a probe to the sun, and landed on an asteroid in order to return samples to Earth.

      I am all for the grunt work of putting your TV satellite into low Earth orbit and running an uber to the ISS being privatized. Let NASA do the exploration, which they are doing and doing amazingly well.

  • avatar

    Elon Musk has proven that he is so incompetent that he’s unable to fix the defect in ALL Tesla’s vehicles so far which causes the process of fully charging the battery taking more than five minutes (which is outrageous in 2018). Therefore, the Tesla board MUST fire him. If the board doesn’t do so, then they too will prove that they are incompetent.

  • avatar

    If a $20 million penalty won’t get this guy off of Twitter, asking $75,000 is way too low. Add three zeroes to the end and maybe Elon *might* wise up.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    The way out is easy…publicly apologize to the dude, show sincerity by hanging up the Twitter account afterwards, settle the lawsuit and walk away a bit wiser.

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