Tesla picks Robyn Denholm to replace Musk as chairperson

Irving Hamilton
November 8, 2018

Tesla had until November 13 to name an independent board chairman under the settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which said Musk's tweets about taking the company private were fraudulent and that the billionaire could retain his role as CEO but should quit as chairman.

Tesla says Robyn Denholm of Australia's Telstra has been appointed as chair of its board, replacing company co-founder Elon Musk.

Apart from appointing a new chairman, Tesla was required to appoint two new independent members to its board.

Tesla has weathered a rocky few months in the wake of Mr Musk's tweets that he had "funding secured" for a deal, later scuttled, to take Tesla private.

Its shares soared following his comments but weeks later Mr Musk backed away from the plan, blaming feedback from shareholders.

United States authorities sued the entrepreneur for misleading investors and he and Tesla were each fined $20m.

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

Investors had also called for stronger oversight of Mr Musk after his erratic behaviour attracted attention. In media interviews he said he often slept on a sofa in the Tesla office and more recently in an online video he briefly smoked marijuana. The mid-priced Tesla Model 3 was the fifth bestselling passenger vehicle in America, according to the industry analyst Edmunds.

However, she will step down temporarily from her role as chairwoman of Tesla's Audit Committee until she has worked her six-month notice period at Telstra, the company said.

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 Inc said board member Robyn Denholm will replace Elon Musk as its Chair, more than a month after the billionaire had to step down as the electric-car maker's Chair as part of a settlement with U.S. regulators.

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