By Jeremy C. Owens
Tesla Inc. named one of Airbnb Inc.’s co-founders to its board Wednesday, increasing the total number of directors back to eight.
Joe Gebbia joins the board of Tesla /zigman2/quotes/203558040/composite TSLA -1.66% a few months after stepping back from a daily operational role at Airbnb /zigman2/quotes/222990650/composite ABNB -0.11% , which he helped found in 2007. He has continued to serve on the board of Airbnb, as well as the home-rental company’s affiliated nonprofit, Airbnb.org.
Gebbia will effectively replace Oracle Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202180826/composite ORCL 0.00% co-founder and Chairman Larry Ellison, who stepped down from the Tesla board as of the electric-vehicle maker’s annual meeting in August. Tesla has operated with a seven-member board since Ellison left.
Tesla’s board — which includes Chief Executive Elon Musk and his brother, Kimbal — has been a target for critics, including the Securities and Exchange Commission and influential proxy-advisory services. The SEC forced Musk to step aside as chairman of the board in a settlement related to his tweets about taking Tesla private, leading to Robyn Denholm being named as the new chair.
Shareholders voted to declassify the board in 2021, and reorganize all the directors into a single class that would stand for election each year. Tesla did not follow that direction, however, leading to advisory services Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services, or ISS, recommending that investors vote against board members standing for election at the most recent annual meeting . Tesla shareholders still approved the re-election of those directors .
Gebbia’s appointment was effective as of Sept. 25, Tesla disclosed in a blog post and filing with the SEC on Wednesday afternoon. Since walking away from a daily role at Airbnb, Gebbia has “begun working on his next startup, acquired a minority stake in the San Antonio Spurs, gives back via his commitment to the Giving Pledge, and serves on other boards and councils such as his alma mater, the Rhode Island School of Design, the Olympic Refuge Foundation, UNHCR, Tent.org, Malala Fund, and the Eames Institute of Infinite Curiosity,” according to Tesla’s blog post.
In addition to the Musk brothers, Denholm and Gebbia, Tesla’s board includes venture-capital investor Ira Ehrenpreis, James Murdoch, Hiro Mizuno and Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, the human-resources chief for Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203410933/composite WBA -0.20% .