Tesla adds two new board members to stop Elon Musk issuing ‘false and misleading’ statements

Electric car manufacturer Tesla has added new members to its board, to prevent CEO Elon Musk from making any more “false and misleading” statements.

The company said Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, and Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, head of human resources at Walgreens, had joined as part of a settlement with financial regulators who demanded more scrutiny and oversight of the 47-year-old tech entrepreneur, known for making headline grabbing statements.

“Excited to have Larry Ellison & Kathleen Wilson-Thompson join the Tesla board,” Mr Musk tweeted on Friday, as Tesla shares rose more than two per cent following the news.

Mr Musk fell foul of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) this summer after he claimed in a tweet he had secured funding to take the electric car company private at $420 per share.

The SEC said he he had mislead investors intentionally, as funding had not been secured, the Associated Press said. Shares of Tesla leapt by 11 per cent on the day of the tweet, but a few weeks later, Mr Musk said the plan to take the company private was no longer going ahead.

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He was charged with securities fraud. 

In a settlement hammered out by his lawyers and the SEC, Mr Musk paid a fine of $20m and agreed not to serve as chairman for three years.

The company was also fined $20m, and undertook to appoint two new independent board members and put in place a series of charges to its management and governance. 

“Corporate officers hold positions of trust in our markets and have important responsibilities to shareholders,” Steven Peikin, of the SEC’s enforcement division, said in September when the settlement was announced.

“An officer’s celebrity status or reputation as a technological innovator does not give license to take those responsibilities lightly.”


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