Tesla appoints Robyn Denholm to replace Elon Musk as chair

Roman Schwartz
November 8, 2018

His problematic August tweets about trying to take the company private caused months of chaos and culminated in a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

But upon taking her new role as chairwoman of Tesla, Denholm will step down from her CFO role at Telstra once her six-month notice completes.

"While Denholm is technically an independent member of the board, she has been part of the Musk team for some time now and that suggests she will not be up to the task of checking Musk's worst instincts", said Stephen Diamond, a professor of law at Santa Clara University who specializes in corporate governance. Tesla's shares soared following his comments.

Electric auto company Tesla has appointed an executive at Australian company Telstra to chair its board.

An Australian, Denholm is Telstra's chief financial officer and head of strategy and already has served on Tesla's board as an independent director.

Tesla has announced that Robyn Denholm has been appointed as Chair of the Tesla Board, effective immediately.

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In the settlement, the SEC pulled back from its demand that Musk, who is synonymous with the Tesla brand, be barred from running Tesla, a sanction that many investors said would be disastrous.

Under the settlement, Tesla also is required to appoint two new independent directors, and it must review the sometimes-erratic Musk's posts about the company on Twitter.

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

Besides Telstra, Denholm has worked in other tech companies such as Juniper Networks and Sun Microsystems, and she also worked for Toyota, the statement added. It was only the third time that Tesla has posted a quarterly profit in its eight-year history as a public company and the first time in two years. The aim is to provide stronger oversight to match Tesla's growing stature and market value.

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