Published: Thu, November 08, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Tesla picks Robyn Denholm to replace Musk as chairperson

Tesla picks Robyn Denholm to replace Musk as chairperson

Robyn Denholm, the finance chief of Australian telecoms firm Telstra, takes over from the electric vehicle maker's founder, who remains chief executive.

Denholm, one of two female directors on the nine-member board, assumes her new position immediately, Tesla said.

That deal required Musk to step aside as head of the board for three years in favor of an independent chairman.

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The announcement scotches reports that James Murdoch was the frontrunner for the job.

Tesla has endured a hard few months, following comments on social media in early August made by the firm's founder, Elon Musk, suggesting he had "funding secured" for a deal to take Tesla private.

Investors had also called for stronger oversight of Mr Musk after his erratic behaviour attracted attention.

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The settlement required Tesla and Musk to pay a fine of $20 million USA each and for Musk to give up his chairman role for three years.

But Tesla's stock had tumbled by more than 25 per cent before recovering the $7billion loss the SEC lawsuit incurred. The mid-priced Tesla Model 3 was the fifth bestselling passenger vehicle in America, according to the industry analyst Edmunds.

Mr Musk heaped praise on his replacement.

Denholm said: "I believe in this company, I believe in its mission and I look forward to helping Elon and the Tesla team achieve sustainable profitability and drive long-term shareholder value".

Mr Musk, Tesla's controversial co-founder, resigned as head of its board in September.

The electric auto company said today in a statement that Denholm will leave Telstra after a six-month notice period with Australia's biggest telecoms company. She also has worked at various technology companies including Juniper Networks and Sun Microsystems and held finance management posts at Toyota Motor Australia.

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