Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Tesla overlooks James Murdoch for chairman role vacated by Elon Musk

Tesla names new chair to replace Elon Musk Robyn Denholm to replace Elon Musk as Tesla chair
Laurie Berry | 08 November, 2018, 18:44

Tesla released a statement a short time ago saying that Denholm had handed in her notice at Telstra and would take on the full-time chair role "effectively immediately".

Denholm is now chief financial officer at Australian telecoms operator Telstra Corp Ltd and has been an independent director on Tesla's nine-member board since 2014.

Robyn Denholm, Telstra's chief financial officer and head of strategy, has been named to head the company's board with immediate effect late Wednesday, the automaker said in a statement posted to its blog.

Musk agreed to an independent chairman being appointed as part of a settlement with USA regulators that allowed him to remain chief executive.

The appointment of Denholm caps months of turbulence for the company and its stock as investors called for stronger oversight of Musk, whose erratic public behavior raised concerns about his ability to steer the company through a rocky phase of growth.

The settlement with the securities watchdog required Musk and Tesla to each pay $20 million in fines (€17.5 million). Tesla's shares soared following his comments.

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"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. Musk's brother, Kimbal, is one of the members. She was chief financial and operations officer at Juniper Networks for nine years, and worked at Sun Microsystems.

Despite the scandals, Tesla made a profit of $312m in the third quarter, well ahead of Wall Street forecasts, with revenues of $6.8bn.

Musk resigned as Tesla chairman in October under an arrangement with U.S. regulators to settle fraud charges stemming from a tweet in which he said he planned to take the company private and had financing to do it.

That alluded to shortsellers, investors who have bet that Tesla shares will fall and who are frequently the subject of Musk´s derision.

Musk smoked pot while appearing on The Joe Rogan Experience in September and called the SEC the "Shortseller Enrichment Commission" in an October tweet, after their settlement.

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