Tesla is holding its annual shareholder meeting on May 16, and a handful of proposals are up for investor consideration this year. Along with them, one Tesla board member is leaving, and a nomination has already been put forward to succeed him.
Above: A Tesla Model 3 (Image: Casey Murphy / EVANNEX).
Tesla has nominated JB Straubel, the company’s former CTO and CEO of battery recycling company Redwood Materials, to join the automaker’s Board of Directors, as shown by a Schedule 14A filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) (via Teslarati). Class I director Hiro Mizuno is not up for re-election, and Straubel would be set to replace him if elected by shareholders in May.
Even before working at Tesla, where he and Musk are both legally named co-founders, Straubel was already tight with the entrepreneur. Musk funded Straubel’s early research into lithium-ion batteries for EVs and sustainable energy, a key focus of Tesla’s later on. Straubel eventually joined Tesla in 2004, and was a key member of the company’s executive branch for much of the company’s short history.
Straubel was with Tesla for nearly a decade and a half as the company’s CTO, before leaving in 2019 to start Redwood Materials. Since leaving Tesla, Straubel and Redwood have remained close to the electric vehicle automaker, with a tight partnership around battery recycling.
“Board has nominated JB Straubel to succeed Mr. Mizuno as a Class I director. Mr. Straubel joined Tesla in 2004, and spent 14 years as our Chief Technology Officer, where he played a key role in our battery cell design, and engineering and production,” wrote Tesla in the filing.
“Mr. Straubel also led the construction and concept of Gigafactory Nevada and the production ramp of our Model 3. After his departure from Tesla in 2019, Mr. Straubel founded Redwood Materials Inc., which is dedicated to building a circular supply chain to power a sustainable world and accelerate the reduction of fossil fuels.”
Many have expressed that Straubel’s nomination makes sense, given his close history with Tesla and the importance of the automaker’s relationship with Redwood Materials in the years to come. Tesla has recently also named Tom Zhu, former Gigafactory Shanghai operations head, as senior vice president, joining Musk, CFO Zachary Kirkhorn and powertrain head Andrew Baglino as an executive officer.
“We believe that Mr. Straubel’s extensive operational experience in senior leadership at the company, combined with his engineering expertise and passion for cleantech, will make him an important asset in our mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy,” Tesla added.