Iron Man 2 reunion: Musk friend Larry Ellison named to Tesla board

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Tesla Motors, Palo Alto, California

Tesla Motors, Palo Alto, California

Tesla announced Friday that it has added two independent directors to the company's board: Kathleen Wilson-Thompson and Larry Ellison.

Yes, it’s that Larry Ellison—the Oracle founder, and one of the richest men in the world, who made a cameo alongside Musk in Iron Man 2.

Ellison lives a jet-setting lifestyle—including a lot of gasoline-swilling exotic-car ownership bragging rights—although he’s done much good as a philanthropist and innovation-minded investor. He’s been a longtime Tesla booster, and the announcement notes that Ellison purchased 3 million Tesla shares earlier this year.

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Yale School of Management’s Jeff Sonnenfeld told CNBC that Ellison was essentially a clone of Musk, and that the move was evidence that Tesla had outmaneuvered the SEC.

Ellison was also a former director at Apple, and was a friend of another controversial figure known for being both worshipped and maligned: Steve Jobs.

Larry Ellison and Kathleen Wilson-Thompson - Tesla board

Larry Ellison and Kathleen Wilson-Thompson - Tesla board

The other new independent director on the Tesla board, Wilson-Thompson, is a high-ranking executive at Walgreens (and formerly Kellogg) with HR experience.

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Those additions, together with the appointment of Robyn Denholm to the role of chairman—a role Musk used to have, in addition to his CEO post—in November, should indeed fulfill the requirements of Tesla’s settlement with the SEC, over Musk’s tweet in August, about taking Tesla private at $420 a share.

Consider this yet another new chapter for Tesla. With Musk losing his role as chairman but Ellison stepping into another quite powerful one we can be assured that Tesla’s future will never be dull.

 
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