Tesla Adds Two Independent Directors To Board, One Of Whom Is Fox CEO Murdoch

JUL 19 2017 BY MARK KANE 72

Tesla announced has welcomed Linda Johnson Rice and James Murdoch as new independent directors to its board.

Tesla Board of Directors prior expansion

The company was under pressure from investors a few months ago to add some new, outside board members, that would be independent to the will of current CEO Elon Musk. A drum that was being beat fairly hard when Tesla was acquiring Musk-tied SolarCity.

Linda Johnson Rice is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Johnson Publishing Company (JPC), while James Murdoch is Chief Executive Officer of 21st Century Fox (21CF), son of Rupert Murdoch.

We imagine that the adding of Fox’s Murdoch to Tesla board is a bit of surprise to most.

Linda Johnson Rice: In addition to her role as Chairman and CEO of JPC and Fashion Fair Cosmetics, Linda is CEO of Ebony Media Operations and Chairman Emeritus of EBONY Media Holdings, the parent company for the EBONY and Jet brands. Linda has extensive corporate board experience, having previously served on the boards of a number of companies across a variety of industries, including Bausch & Lomb, Continental Bank, Quaker Oats, Dial Corporation, MoneyGram and Kimberly-Clark Corporation, and currently serving on the boards of Omnicom Group and Grubhub. Linda is a Trustee at the Art Institute of Chicago, President of the Chicago Public Library Board of Directors, Council Member of The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and board member of After School Matters and Northwestern Memorial Corporation.

James Murdoch: Before becoming CEO of 21CF in 2015, James held a number of leadership roles at the company over a two-decade career. He previously served as its Co-Chief Operating Officer, Chairman and CEO for Europe and Asia, as well as Chairman of BSkyB, Sky Deutschland, and Sky Italia, the businesses that now comprise Sky plc. He also served as CEO of BSkyB and STAR, India’s entertainment leader. In addition to being a key driver of 21CF’s domestic and international expansion, James has been instrumental in the company’s robust social impact initiatives, including its decade-long leadership on environmental sustainability. James and his wife, Kathryn Murdoch, are founders of a family foundation, Quadrivium, which supports initiatives involving natural resources, science, civic life, childhood health, and equal opportunity.

Categories: Tesla


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72 Comments on "Tesla Adds Two Independent Directors To Board, One Of Whom Is Fox CEO Murdoch"

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I wonder if we’ll start seeing some Pro-EV news pieces on Fox now….interesting for sure.

Only if the EV News is “Fair and Ballanced”!

Interesting factoid: Fox has retired their “fairly imbalanced” slogan. Now they are going with “Most watched, most trusted”.

Well, at least their new slogan is partially justifiable, rather than a complete lie.

Trusted? Come on, they are a common joke all around the planet.

Your thinking of CNN, they can’t seem to catch a break, one scandal after another over there.

They are trusted by their gullible viewers, so sure, they can say that quite accurately. The slogan doesn’t say “most trusworthy”.

Murdoch is a Tesla director now? I’m tempted to turn in my Model 3 reservation. Excuse me while throw up a little in my mouth as my brain tries to process this.

Yet, only Elon can pull off this type of stuff and people will accept it. He is willing to overlook certain things if a greater good can come out of it.

Kdawg, well said. I’m still trying to process this.

Same reaction here. But I trust Musk. This is Murdoch’s son, so not the same thing as the dad. Musk may have reasons, and certainly has knowledge, that we do not.

James Murdoch is not currently a CEO of anything, and has never been a CEO of Fox News. You are thinking of Rupert Murdoch. Please fix the headline.

It appears he was the former chairman of News Corp, and is the current chairman of 21st Century Fox. Still, CEO is incorrect and “Fox” is ambiguous.

Heeh, a lot of confusion happening on your part there, but its probably understandable under the recent changes.

FYI: James Murdoch, is the CEO of 21st Century Fox (link here), and is the son of Rupert Murdoch.

As a point of interest 21st Century Fox is the parent of “Fox News”, as its portfolio includes the Fox Entertainment group (20th Century Fox studios, Fox Television Network, Star TV, etc. After the scandals “News Corp”/wider branding was pulled in, and was renamed/organizes as 21st Century Fox…but they are the same thing. Another part was spun off, as the new “News Corp” – but that is the old school print business.

James’ basically controls the whole show (along with brother Lachlan who is less active – but exec chairman). “Fox” is, for all intents and purposes, James Murdoch.

Oh worse than that.

Tie two Insideev stories together. The “lobbyist” story about the new and very successful opposition to solar power.


Those lobbyists are the Murdoch’s.


Who now sit on Tesla board courtesy of Musk, it’s like some bad joke.

On the flip side, just as Musk gets to make appointments like this, Murdoch will have no ability to apply the family politics to Tesla for the same reason. He can leak damaging info to the his media but that’s about it. Musk and Tesla investor base will still focus on building a sustainable future control the company.

It’s more the idea of giving credibility to the Murdoch’s/FoxNews by doing so that is painful to watch.

Weird, almost like President Trump appointment of that climate denier to the EPA.

Correct; this is Rupert’s son.

Linda looks like an AA hire. How does running a family printing company and makeup qualify someone to be on the board of a car company.

Most likely his connections.

Al Gore was on Apple Inc. board, and I could go on all day long for people who were/are on Company boards that have very little experience and knowledge for what the company produced.

Anyone holding FOX news to account here, is looking at the world through incredibly thick bias glasses. I guess if Jeff Zucker was placed on the board, you would be praising Elon.

Kimbal Musk is pure nepotism, and not a single complaint here. His experience is in the food industry! I guess he’s providing valuable advice for the company’s cafeterias!

Personally I could not care less who’s on the board.

Now can I get on the board, and get my nice juicy stock options!

Most board members’ qualifications is just that they are rich and have some nebulous experience with how a company operates. There are probably a lot of small businessmen who would be more qualified to sit on the boards of these companies, but no one will ever ask them (let it be said there are certainly plenty of small businessmen who have no clue whatsoever).

It’s guilt by association, his father being Murdoch. I’d throw up, too, if new board member is related to head of MSNBC or CNN.



Level of accuracy does not matter? If you’ve lied once, you’re now the same as the Chinese state media? Track record does not matter?

MSNBC is much more accurate than Fox News. CNN is more accurate than both.

This is the same false equivalency BS that has sucked our country into the hole. 🙁

Yes, Sparky really is so far to the right that he sees CNN as a source of liberal propaganda, and no doubt agrees with wannabe dictator El Trumpo in calling CNN “fake news”.

Personally I find Wolf Blitzer to have a slight if distinct conservative bias, but otherwise CNN’s coverage is pretty balanced.

There is no such thing as liberal propaganda. CNN’s prez is very good friends with Dump. All propaganda is fascist propaganda, and only the far right one percent can afford to fund it. There has never been a left in this country. Liberalism is a fake boogeyman.

I seriously don’t understand how anyone can have any trust in CNN after everything that has been exposed about CNN. CNN really is fake news, that should be obvious by now

Right. Since fox is many times worse, they are right out. 😀

I don’t think Fox News is any worse than CNN. It’s the same crap with different biases.
CNN has repeatedly been caught making stuff up, dishonest editing, “losing” satellite feeds when guests say something CNN doesn’t like, straight up lying to people, colluding with the DNC to support Hillary and more. CNN really is fake news and they need to go.

Level of accuracy does matter. That’s why I’d barf at CNN and MSNBC as well. Go fact check their stories; they lie just as much (or even more in some cases) than faux news.

IEV is not without bias, but compared to those liars, IEV is a welcome relief.

find an article and highlight the lie. otherwise you’re full of _.

The trouble is that rightwingers have decided that Faux News is “the truth”. Therefore anything that contradicts their biased slant is a lie.

If you can’t find CNN / MSNBC lies (and there are tons of them), you need to get your head out of your dark place. There are too many to list here, here’s an example where they make semi automatic rifles (which is most rifles sold) seem like automatics (illegal since the 1930’s).


There’s another where they (CNN guys) from NY go out of state to buy guns at gun show (out of state buyer is illegal purchase), and say that’s gun show loophole. Illegal purchase is not gun show loophole! Gun issue is just scratching the surface, there are tons more if you just open your mind.

> “CNN is more accurate than both.”

LOL! Fake news central! What other “news” do they have to retract!

I’m not sure if you care, but here’s the reality, just in case:




MSNBC is better than Fox, CNN is better than both. ?

A list of carefully selected anecdotes somehow proves your point?

It’s a systematic review of statements over the last year.

Or to put it another way: The exact opposite of your claim.

Systematic review? Their methodology isn’t even discussed. I can just as well come up with list of lies to make Fox look good in some blog post.

Fact is, they all have their constituents, and they must cater to their audience, truths be damned. That’s why it’s healthy to eat variety of food, not just fruits and vegetables.

Seeing these qualifications reminds me of why we have so many rubber-stamp corporate Boards. If they’re actually involved in that many high level positions, these new board members can’t possibly give governance the attention it deserves.

Corporate boards are mostly just a good ol boy’s club for CEOs. They all sit on each others’ boards, putting a little bit of extra lining in their pockets, while offering only minimal oversight.

Good grief. Why appoint someone like Murdoch whose family media empire pushes an anti-science view that global warming science is bunk. The Murdoch’s are dogmatically opposed to Tesla, opposing the government policies that promote EV’s and promote PV roofs.

What can someone opposed to Tesla’s mission of a sustainable future in transportation and energy add to Tesla as board member?

Disappointing behavior by Musk and it does lessen confidence in Tesla. It’s a bad business decision and it give credibility to those who oppose the science that is the basis for EV adoption.

Elon Musk doesn’t decide who’s on the board, the shareholders do. Granted, with 22% of the shares Elon is a pretty big shareholder too so he has a fairly big say in it but he’s not a dictator.

I don’t know what the truth is here, but in a previous discussion someone claimed that Elon and his family and close associates control, if not an outright majority, then at least a large plurality of Tesla shares. It has been claimed that this is how the buyout of SolarCity was pushed through, over the objections of most stockholders.

At any rate, Elon seems to be in pretty firm control of Tesla Inc. So it would surprise me if Murdoch was added to the Board against Elon’s wishes.

Pushy, whoever posted that, would be a poor choice of people to listen to. Tesla shares trade on NASDAQ, and NASDAQ tracks who buys/sells/owns TSLA shares. They are the primary source of this information, since they own the trading platform where TSLA is listed. NASDAQ documents that 64% of Tesla shares are institutionally owned: http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/tsla/ownership-summary So it is impossible for Elon to have the majority of the shares. Anybody who suggests otherwise is simply lying straight to your face about something that is easily debunked. In fact, all insiders (including Elon) and 5% owners all together only total 22% of TSLA shares. So it is absurd to even claim a plurality. Finally, it was very well documented that Elon and everybody else with even a potential conflict RECUSED themselves from the Solar City vote. (The board vote tallies themselves are public record, so anybody can confirm, unless they prefer to lie directly to people’s faces like they did to you.) Elon never voted for or against the Solar City deal. He didn’t use his vote on the Board to get Board approval, and he didn’t vote his shares when it came to getting shareholder approval. So any suggestion that Elon… Read more »

Elon’s 22% is by far the largest individual share. Then there are a bunch of institutional investors with 1-10% of shares. I guess these are the ones that wanted more people not tied to Musk in the board.

I guess Kimball Musk is closest to Musk family wise but he’s only got .1% of shares. JB Straubel’s got .2%

And who do you think decides who gets to be voted in as director?

In almost all companies, the shareholders get to vote for directors that the CEO nominated, and no one else is on the ballot. In most cases, you can’t vote for another person, who you think might be qualified, as they are not on the ballot.

If there are 8 directors to be voted in, there are 8 to vote for. What kind of election is that? A joke election, where shareholders are not properly informed, and basically are giving their approval for what the CEO has decided.

Looks like Elon is inoculating the board against potential investor attacks saying that Tesla’s board are all pro-green and not “realistic”.

Getting the head of 21st Century Fox is actually a big get for the Tesla board. None of the pundits can claim he is just a blind cheerleader. And if Tesla can use the relationship to get Tesla related content into Fox products (movies, TV shows, etc) than even better.

Too bad his father is a complete d-bag serial sexual assaulter and Ayn Randian loon. Hopefully he won’t follow in his father’s footsteps. Sadly business is business, and if you aren’t doing business with half the nation because you disagree with their politics, that would be a problem.

Does anybody actually have any knowledge of this guy’s actual views on green cars or EV’s? He may like SparkEV for all we know.

Hiring people opposed to your company’s mission and no experience in the industry seems to be a bad move from any perspective.

Musk has a tin ear on politics as his being used as a front for Trumps “science advisory panel” demonstrated. It looks like these appoints are the same clumsy effort. Nice to appoint a black woman but Johnson seems like a professional black board member, a cardboard cutout. Have to be lots of black women business people who would be great. Lazy effort on Musk’s part.

On Murdoch, like Musk’s Trump debacle, Musk seems to think you can placate these dogmatically ignorant and/or malicious people by well placed bootlicking. It never works and it is, frankly, insulting to people buying EV’s that Murdoch is on the board, rewarded for bad behavior.

FISHEV said “Hiring people opposed to your company’s mission … seems to be a bad move from any perspective.”

Well, since you were responding to my post, perhaps you can answer what I posted:

“Does anybody actually have any knowledge of this guy’s actual views on green cars or EV’s? He may like SparkEV for all we know.”

Because until somebody actually establishes what the younger Murdoch’s views are on EV’s, it is premature to claim that he is opposed to EV’s. Just as it would be inaccurate to claim SparkEV is opposed to EV’s, or any number of posters who have identified themselves as conservatives/right-wing/R’s who post here.

Let me be clear, I don’t like the content his company generates on their news channel. And his father is an insufferable serial sexual harasser, but I have yet to see anything on what the son’s view actually is on EV’s.

If being on the board shifts him more towards supporting EV’s, all the better. If he is an insufferable anti-EV troll once he’s on the board, then he won’t last. He will get voted off the island.

Tune into Fox News, Murdoch’s company, and listen to his views on EV’s and science. According to Murdoch, it is a “hoax”. It’s what Murdoch does in public that counts, not his “I’m not really a climate science denier” in private view which is meaningless.

End of story.

You don’t buy products or support businesses that promote the anti-science views. As a voting board member, Tesla now becomes one of those businesses. A suicidal move by Musk who indeeds controls Tesla and the appointment. As with Musk’s other move in supporting Trump, also opposed to climate science, it is a misguided effort to suck up to your worst enemies in hopes they won’t attack you. It never works and just emboldens them.

Buy a Tesla, pay Murdoch to attack climate science and sustainable future.

What’s next, a seat for Exxon? A Saudi prince? A Russian oil oligarch?

FISHEV said “It’s what Murdoch does in public that counts, not his “I’m not really a climate science denier” in private view which is meaningless”

Wrong, it is what he does as a board member that counts. Period.

Now, do you actually have any information on what his personal views are on EV’s?

Murdoch does nothing as a board member especially on a board controlled by Musk and pro-EV investors. Who cares what Murdoch says at private cocktail parties or meaningless board meetings. It’s what his multibillion dollar business does everyday in public that counts.

Murdoch’s business is built on denying the science of climate change it is totally wrong for him to be chosen by company whose mission Murdoch strongly and publicly opposes with billions in investments.

Well, thanks for making it clear that you actually don’t have any information on what James Murdoch’s personal views are on EV’s.

As arguably the leading opponent of climate science in the world in public who cares what Murdoch’s private views are. He makes a living, a dishonest living at that, in attacking climate science and attacking the reason for being for Tesla.

It is crazy to appoint this lying dangerous person to the board of a company whom he attacks on a daily basis.

To be fair, the younger Murdochs are reportedly not ultra rightwingers like their father. That isn’t to say they aren’t still conservatives, but they’re at least a bit more toward the center.

> Hiring people opposed to your company’s mission and no experience in the industry seems to be a bad move from any perspective.

It like saying Elon is forced to hear his opinion and act on it. He’s only a single board member!

People praise Elon for being smart, and if he decides to have what we all presume to be a conservative on the board, we all get in emotional tizzy as if James will have complete command of Elon, and he won’t have any control anymore.

Oh no, we’re doomed!!!

I’m going to spend millions of my money to convince Elon to drop this guy!!!


Musk and Tesla are indeed forced to listen to Murdoch’s views as board member. That’s entirely the point of board members.

With so many to business execs to choose from who do support climate science, Musk’s actions are a craven and futile attempt to try and buy off those most opposed to climate science and Tesla’s mission statement.

We heard the same failed rationalization for Musk’s being on Trumps’s “advisory” board.

They are not forced to listen, but choose to listen.

They are not forced to act in anyway on his opinions.

Anyway, why all the hyperbole? Is he contrary to Tesla’s mission statement? If so where?

Don’t point me to what FOX news has said.

Are they going to put their fingers in their ears at board meetings? They hired Murdoch for the board and now have to listen to him. But what he says in the board meetings is meaningless as he has no control or even influence except on the lunch menu if even there.

The point is Murdoch’s business is out to kill Tesla’s business. Why would you appoint someone like that to your board of directors?

Why don’t you ask Elon Musk?

Would the phrase be

“Forced to hear, but not forced to listen”

or would it be:

“Forced to listen, but not forced to hear”

I can never keep those straight.

Rupert Murcoch’s son on the board of Tesla?

I hafta wonder if Elon did this out of spite, as a way to say “If you’re gonna force me to add people, then you’re gonna get scum”.

It may be unfair to tar Rupert Murcoch’s son with the same brush, but I see he was implicated in the News of the world yellow-journalism phone-hacking scandal, along with his father, so that suggests they share the same contemptible lack of ethics and utter disregard for the rights of others.

* * * * *

Contributor Mark Kane wrote:

“We imagine that the adding of Fox’s Murdoch to Tesla board is a bit of surprise to most.”

Now, is that the biggest understatement in the history of InsideEVs? Or is it just Mark showing a dry wit? 😉

If anyone bothers to actually research Jr’s opinions and causes you might actually learn he’s quite an interesting person and is cleaning house over at that pesky subsidiary known as Fox news.

What are juniors views on global warming, EV transition, fossil fuel industry?

I think it is a brilliant move. Rupert Murdoc will not run his media empire forever, sooner or later his sons will take over. Badmouthing Tesla with fake stories will be kinda hard if the boss is on the board of Tesla.
Also, there are now officially 3 African Americans on the board, probably a record in automotive business.

Except badmouthing science and the results of science like Tesla IS the business of the Murdoch’s. Their media empire is built on the selling the anti-science dogma. Evolution is fake. Climate science is fake. All science is fake. It sells and that’s what the Murdoch’s sells.

Idea that seat on the Tesla board is going to appease these people or change their business missions statement which is to put Tesla out of business is foolish. Idea that Murdoch’s will give up their successful business model because Musk is sucking up to them makes no sense.

“It sells and that’s what the Murdoch’s sells.”

Yes, they sell a product to consumers who want the product they buy. The product is tailored to the consumers. They don’t sell news, they sell the news their consumers want to hear.

When you go to a dealership and buy a car, the salesman isn’t selling you their car. They are selling you the car you are willing to buy. Hopefully you aren’t fooled when the salesman says “I’ve got one of these myself at home.” no matter what car they are selling….

What Fox News sells to its listeners isn’t necessarily the same as what this specific person, James Murdoch thinks about EV’s. Any more than we can predict that all the Fox News viewers that post here are all anti-EV. They all aren’t. Fox News broadcasts what Fox News consumers want to hear. So far nobody actually knows what James Murdoch thinks about EV’s.

Murdochs don’t sell news, they sell opinion and the opinion they sell is that Tesla should be put out of business as the reason for Tesla’s business of EV and solar roofs, climate science, is bogus.

Of what value is this opinion on the Tesla board?

What value does he bring to the Tesla board?

He runs a successful company that is in tune with the interests of somewhere around half of the US voter’s political beliefs. AKA: He knows about the customers that Tesla needs in order for Tesla to grow their market share outside the green car bubble.

He markets his company’s products effectively to that market demographic every single day, and if Tesla and EV’s are going to break out of the low single digits and into the mainstream, they need to break INTO Murdoch’s market demographic.

If Murdoch’s name adds legitimacy to Tesla in the eyes of his company’s market demographics, that helps Tesla with that market.


You have made it clear that you hate everything that Murdoch stands for on purely political lines. And at a certain level I feel your pain. But EV’s need to break through that political divide to be truly successful.

This is something I’ve been working on for myself on my own posts, if you compare my posts 5+ years ago to what I post now. Although I admit I still have a ways to go…

He inherited a successful company from is prince of freaking darkness father. He has continued and expanded his father’s attacks on climate science.

His public record is such that Murdoch is arguably the LAST person to be serving on the board of a company that he seeks to destroy in his every day work.

I answered your question on what he might bring to the board. You can choose to hear/listen or not, your choice.

Since you haven’t actually disputed what he can bring to Tesla’s board, my post still stands.

So just 10 more days to see the Model-3 sold to a customer and the full specs available.