Meet Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, the HR executive that just joined Tesla's board following its $20 million SEC settlement

TeslaWalgreens executive Kathleen Wilson-Thompson has joined the Tesla board.
  • Tesla announced two new board members on Friday as part of its $US20 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • One of those people is Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, a Walgreens executive with a long career in human resources.
  • She’s also on the board of two other public manufacturing companies.
  • She could help Tesla address what employees have described as its harsh working culture.

Fulfilling the obligations of its $US20 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in September, Tesla announced on Friday that it’s added two new directors to its board: Oracle founder Larry Ellison and Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, a Walgreens executive with a long career in human resources.

Wilson-Thompson may be less prolific than Ellison, the outspoken and sometimes controversial Oracle executive who is heavily invested in Tesla, and close friends with CEO Elon Musk.

But her background in human resources may be just what Tesla needs on its board to transform its company culture and address allegations of 70-hour work weeks and “WTF” emails under Musk.

Here’s what you need to know

She’s an executive at Walgreens.Wilson-Thompson, who’s based out of Illinois, is executive vice president and global chief human resources officer at Walgreens parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance. Before that, she was a senior vice president at Walgreens.

She joined Walgreens in 2010 after spending 17 years at Kellogg’s as an HR executive.

She sits on two other boards. Wilson-Thompson is on the board of two other US-based public manufacturing companies.

She joined the board of Vulcan Materials Company, an Alabama-based manufacturer of construction materials like gravel and crushed stone, in 2009. She’s also on the board of Ashland Global Holdings, which sells industrial chemicals.

She holds a law degree. Wilson-Thompson went to the University of Michigan for undergrad, where she studied English Literature, according to her LinkedIn profile. After that, she got a law degree as well as a master’s degree in corporate and finance law, from Wayne State University.

She’s could be the answer to Tesla’s HR woes.Tesla has struggled against allegations of unfair and unsafe working conditions, particularly at its flagship Gigafactory in Reno, Nevada. As pressures mount to meet production goals, workers have faced problems like inadequate bathroom facilities and starting new jobs after just minutes of training, employees told Business Insider. With her experience in HR, and background in construction and worker safety from those others boards, Wilson-Thompson could bring a healthy dose of HR know-how to Tesla.

Musk shared his enthusiasm to have Wilson-Thompson and Ellison join the board on Twitter:

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