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Tesla adds two independent directors to board

  • Tesla added two new independent directors to its board.
  • The directors are Ebony Media CEO Linda Johnson Rice and 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch.

Tesla added two new independent directors to its board.

The California electric car maker said Ebony Media CEO Linda Johnson Rice and 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch were named directors, bringing the size of its board to nine members.

The news, which was confirmed by Tesla, was first reported by Dow Jones on Monday.

Some have criticized what they see as a lack of independence on Tesla's board. In 2016, a group of investors sent a letter to the company that said too many of Tesla's board members have personal or professional ties to CEO Elon Musk.

Several months later Musk said on Twitter that the investors in question "should buy Ford stock. Their governance is amazing."

"Besides," Musk added, "I already said we'd add more independent members during SCTY merger. Will announce soon, but this group has nothing to do with it."

One of the shareholders behind that letter, CtW Investment Group, was not immediately available for comment.

Other shareholders have pushed for additional changes to Tesla's board. For example, the Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds proposed at Tesla's most recent annual meeting in April to require Tesla board members to stand for re-election annually, rather than staggering member terms.

Tesla said its classified board structure is important to its long-term planning, and shareholders rejected the proposal.