Before Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison joined Tesla's board, he gave an impassioned defence of his 'very close friend' Elon Musk

  • Tesla on Friday announced the two newest additions to its board of directors: Walgreens executive Kathleen Thompson-Wilson and Oracle founder and chief technology officer Larry Ellison.
  • In October, Ellison heaped praised on Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, and slammed media coverage of Musk’s actions and his companies.
  • You can listen here to a recording of Ellison’s remarks, made to financial analysts in October.

Larry Ellison hasn’t been shy about his admiration for Elon Musk – even before Ellison was appointed on Friday to the board of directors at Tesla, where Musk is CEO.

Ellison, founder and chief technology officer of database giant Oracle, discussed in October his “very close” friendship with Musk, disclosed his sizable stake in Tesla, and criticised the media for its coverage of Musk and his companies, Tesla and SpaceX.

“I think Tesla has a lot of upside,” Ellison said. “I am not sure how many people know, but I’m very close friends with Elon Musk, and I’m a big investor in Tesla.”

Ellison made these comments during a meeting with financial analysts in October, as originally reported by Bloomberg – you can listen to a recording of his comments on Musk here.His remarks came not long after Tesla reported a surprising profit in its third quarter.

After a year in which Musk often found himself the target of controversy, Ellison took issue with how the Tesla CEO was portrayed in news stories.

“I loved all the articles about how Elon doesn’t know what he is doing, the pictures of him smoking dope,” Ellison said, referring to Musk’s infamous interview on the popular “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast where he was filmed smoking legal, recreational marijuana.

Ellison also discussed his frustration with critics of SpaceX, Musk’s private space travel company.

“You’re telling me he’s an idiot. I just want to know who you are. Why should I believe you, as opposed to my friend Elon? We’re out here watching this rocket land, which I think is really cool, and you’re there in front of your Apple Macintosh, and typing up an article saying Elon’s an idiot,” Ellison said.

“This guy’s landing rockets. He’s landing rockets on robot drone rafts in the ocean,” Ellison said, referring to SpaceX’s trademark drone ships. “And you’re saying he doesn’t know what he’s doing. Well, who else is landing rockets? You ever land a rocket on a robot drone? Who are you?”

Together, Ellison and Musk have a combined net worth of about $US93 billion, according to Forbes estimates. Both entrepreneurs cofounded major companies with ambitious visions for the future.

But the two tech executives have been mostly compared for their eccentric personalities and colourful comments.

Ellison has made headlines for racing yachts and dropping $US300 million for an entire Hawaiian island. Musk is known for publicly speaking his mind and frequently posting on Twitter.

Indeed, it was one of Musk’s tweets that ultimately landed Ellison his new gig at Tesla: In the wake of his infamous “funding secure” tweet, Musk was required by a settlement with the SEC to step down as executive chairman of Tesla and appoint new independent directors to the company.

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