Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Tesla appoints Robyn Denholm as chair to replace Elon Musk

A Tesla Inc. Model S electric vehicle is displayed at the company's showroom in Newport Beach California U.S. on Friday Tesla appoints Robyn Denholm as chair to replace Elon Musk
Nellie Chapman | 08 November, 2018, 18:43

The electric auto maker has announced that Robyn Denholm, who has been an independent director at the business since 2014, will step up to become chairman with immediate effect.

Denholm takes over as Tesla's chair immediately and will leave her role as CFO and head of strategy at Telstra once her six-month notice period with the company is complete, Tesla said late on Wednesday.

A corporate governance expert questioned whether Denholm is the right person for the job, given that she was a member of Tesla's board for four years yet failed to rein in the visionary yet erratic Musk.

The billionaire later said he was not 'on weed' when he posted a tweet which said Tesla would be taken public with shares priced at $420 - a number which refers to a day in April when hordes of skunk-hounds congregate in parks and town squares to openly smoke cannabis.

Critics of Tesla's board have said members lack independence and are too closely allied with Musk, many through financial deals.

Tesla's found a new chair of its board to replace Elon Musk.

According to an announcement shared by Tesla, Denholm will serve as the board chairperson on a full-time basis. The move is part of the deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle claims that CEO Elon Musk misled investors.

Tesla has named an Australian executive as its new chairman after Elon Musk was forced to give up the role.

Denholm is no stranger to Silicon Valley: She's had senior roles at companies including Juniper Networks, where she was chief financial officer, and Sun Microsystems, as well as seven years at Toyota back home in Australia.

"The market reacted to this information and Tesla's stock price quickly traded up", said Stephanie Avakian, the SEC's Co-Director of the Division of Enforcement, in a September news conference.

Shares began to rise after the car-maker reported its largest quarterly profit in the company's history and closed at $348.16 a share yesterday.

The appointment of Denholm caps months of turbulence for Tesla amid investor demands for stronger oversight.

As part of Musk's settlement with the SEC, Tesla also has to monitor his Twitter posts if they relate to the firm.