A Tesla board member was ousted from his venture capital firm amid sexual harassment allegations - now there are calls for him to be booted from the automaker too

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Steve JurvetsonGetty/Steve Jennings

  • Steve Jurvetson, a member of Tesla's board since 2009, has been on a leave of absence for six months.
  • Proxy firm Glass Lewis is advising shareholders to boot him from his position due to the absence.
  • There is also pressure from investors to remove the board's director, as well as CEO Elon Musk's brother.
  • Follow Tesla's stock price in real-time here.

Board seats are set to be a hot topic of discussion when Tesla shareholders vote at the company's annual meeting next month.

Ahead of the meeting, a prominent shareholder advisory firm is urging investors to remove Steve Jurvetson from his position on the board, which has been absent since November 2017 when sexual misconduct allegations led him to resign as managing director of his venture capital firm, Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

"We are concerned by the fairly extraordinary length of Mr. Jurvetson's leave of absence," proxy firm Glass Lewis said in a report filed this week, a copy of which was provided to Business Insider.

"The board has provided no assurances as to when he might resume his service. Directors have a fundamental responsibility to represent shareholders at board meetings; while Mr. Jurvetson is entitled to devote time to his personal matters, we do not believe this should come into conflict with the need of Company shareholders for board representation."

No one has publicly accused Jurvetson of any misconduct. In November, he said he was leaving "because of interpersonal dynamics with [his] partners" and the "acrimony" that arose between them, Recode reported. A request for comment to Jurvetson's new firm, Future Ventures, by Business Insider on Wednesday was not returned.

The upcoming shareholder meeting is set to be extra contentious when it convenes on June 5 in Mountain View, California. Tesla's stock price has sunk more than 10% since the beginning of the year as a credit downgrade, plunging bond prices, safety issues at its factory, multiple Autopilot crashes, and a debate of the company's potential for profit - something Musk has said will happen this year - weigh on investors' minds.

There is also a bid among several Tesla investors with large stakes in the company to remove independent director Antonia Gracias, as well as CEO Elon Musk's brother, Kimball Musk, from the board. The company has urged investors to vote in favor of each of the existing nominees.

"Four of the nine directors are, by Glass Lewis standards, either affiliated with the Company or are insiders," the firm said. "We believe this raises concerns about the objectivity and independence of the board and its ability to perform its proper oversight role, especially when considering the ongoing absence of Mr. Jurvetson."

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