Tesla shareholder wants to remove Elon Musk from chairman position

Ahead of Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting in June, stockholder Jing Zhao has submitted a proposal to replace the board’s chairman, Elon Musk, with an independent director. Musk, the chief executive officer at Tesla, has been chairman of the board since 2004.

“Although the current leadership structure, in which the positions of Chairman and CEO are held by one person, could provide an effective leadership for Tesla at the early stage, now in this much more highly competitive and rapidly changing technology industry, it is more and more difficult to oversee Tesla’s business and senior management (especially to minimize any potential conflicts) that may result from combining the positions of CEO and Chairman,” Zhao wrote in his proposal.

Zhao, who holds 12 shares of the company’s common stock, also noted Musk’s positions at SolarCity and SpaceX, and how Musk’s involvement could lead to conflicts down the road. But the likelihood of this happening is slim to none.

And the board has already expressed its opposition, recommending a vote against this proposal. In its statement, the board says Tesla’s success would not have been possible without Musk at the helm of both the board and the company itself.

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“In light of the significant future opportunities for growth and the careful execution needed in order for the Company to achieve it, the Board believes that the Company is still best served by Mr. Musk continuing to serve as Chairman,” the board stated. “Moreover, the role of the Lead Independent Director protects the Company against any potential governance issues arising from a non-independent director serving as Chairman. This position is vested with broad authority to lead the actions of the independent directors and communicate regularly with the Chief Executive Officer. Additionally, the Company now has seven independent directors following the addition of two additional independent directors in July 2017.”

I reached out to Tesla for comment and the company directed me to the board’s response. Here it is in full:

The Board believes that the Company’s success to date would not have been possible if the Board was led by another director lacking Elon Musk’s day-to-day exposure to the Company’s business. In light of the significant future opportunities for growth and the careful execution needed in order for the Company to achieve it, the Board believes that the Company is still best served by Mr. Musk continuing to serve as Chairman.

Moreover, the role of the Lead Independent Director protects the Company against any potential governance issues arising from a non-independent director serving as Chairman. This position is vested with broad authority to lead the actions of the independent directors and communicate regularly with the Chief Executive Officer. Additionally, the Company now has seven independent directors following the addition of two additional independent directors in July 2017. The Board believes that the broad authority of the Lead Independent Director and the presence of six other independent directors ensures that the Board acts independently. This current Board structure also is consistent with majority practice at large public companies: according to the 2017 Spencer Stuart Board Index, 72% of companies in the S&P 500 do not have an independent board chairman.

The proponent acknowledges that a combined Chief Executive Officer and Chairman is an effective form of leadership for an early-stage company, until it faces increased competition and rapid technological changes. The Board believes that it is precisely during times when a company must quickly adapt to constant change and outside pressures that Board leadership needs to be lockstep with the Company’s operations. Our achievements to date notwithstanding, the Company is still at a point in its development where we must execute well in order to realize our long-term goals, and separating the roles of Chief Executive Officer and Chairman at this time would not serve the best interests of the Company or its stockholders.

Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

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