California: Tesla is adding Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia to its board just over three months after Larry Ellison stepped down as an independent director.
The Austin, Texas-based company now has eight directors, including CEO Elon Musk and his brother, Kimbal. Tesla disclosed Gebbia’s appointment Wednesday in a securities filing, noting it was effective as of September 25.
The move brings another apparent friend and ally of Musk to the automaker’s board. The two entrepreneurs have been in touch at least as far back as 2018, when Musk attempted to take Tesla private at $420 a share via a now-infamous tweet.
“Baller move,” Gebbia texted Musk about the plan in August 2018, according to records that later surfaced in shareholder litigation. “Sucks being private without IPO alternative” for investors and employees holding restricted shares, he added.
Musk responded that it worked for SpaceX, which did a liquidity program every six months, but he had had trouble with Tesla, citing “too many individual financing rounds with aggravating terms.”
“Exactly,” Gebbia texted back. “No other IPO alternative exists at the moment.”
Gebbia stepped back from his role at Airbnb in July, saying in a public letter that he would be spending more time with his family and exploring new projects. He co-founded the San Francisco-based home sharing company in 2008 with CEO Brian Chesky and Chief Strategy Officer Nathan Blecharczyk. Gebbia will continue to serve on Airbnb’s board and with Airbnb.org, its nonprofit arm.
Tesla, the electric-vehicle market leader, had said Ellison would not be replaced when he left the board in June. Ellison, the chair of Oracle Corp., was one of two independent members named to the board in late 2018 as part of a settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission over Musk’s take-private saga.