Tesla Board Gains Two Watchdogs As Musk Seeks a Way Out of His Cave Mess

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
tesla board gains two watchdogs as musk seeks a way out of his cave mess

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 [s]lapdogs[/s] 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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2 of 10 comments
  • Iamwho2k Iamwho2k on Dec 28, 2018

    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.

  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Dec 30, 2018

    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.

  • Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI coupe....it's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark V.....it was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.
  • ToolGuy Silhouetting yourself on a ridge like that is an excellent way to get yourself shot ( Skylining)."Don't you know there's a special military operation on?"
  • ToolGuy When Farley says “like the Millennium Falcon” he means "fully updatable" and "constantly improving" -- it's right there in the Car and Driver article (and makes perfect sense).
  • Master Baiter New slogan in the age of Ford EVs:FoundOnRoadDischarged
  • Albert Also owned a 1959 Continental Mark IV coupe for 20 years and loved every minute!