Published: Thu, November 08, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

Tesla picks Robyn Denholm to replace Musk as chairperson

Tesla picks Robyn Denholm to replace Musk as chairperson

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.

The 55-year-old Australian will temporarily step down as chair of Tesla's audit committee until she quits Telstra.

Musk will help ease the new board director´s transition, Tesla 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", it quoted her saying.

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

The US Securities and Exchange Commission had charged Musk with securities fraud, alleging that he misled investors when he tweeted on August 7 that he had "funding secured" to privatize the electric automaker at $420 a share, a substantial premium over its share price at the time.

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Telstra said she would be leaving her CFO role in the coming months.

Tesla is searching for two more independent directors.

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.

Ms Denholm has served on the Tesla board as an independent director since 2014 and has also worked in Silicon Valley and for companies including Toyota.

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. "Great respect. Very much look forward to working together", Musk tweeted early on Thursday.

Investors had also called for stronger oversight of Mr Musk after his erratic behaviour attracted attention. Musk had Musk later backtracked on the tweet, but the damage was done.

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