Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Tesla appoints Robyn Denholm to replace Elon Musk as chair

A Tesla Inc. Model S electric vehicle is displayed at the company's showroom in Newport Beach California U.S. on Friday Tesla names new chair to replace Elon Musk
Russell Knight | 08 November, 2018, 16:00

The appointment of Denholm caps months of turbulence for Tesla amid investor demands for stronger oversight.

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

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

As part of Musk's settlement with the SEC, Tesla also has to monitor his Twitter posts if they relate to the firm.

The move scotches reports that James Murdoch might have been appointed to the job.

Tesla said Denholm will be serving as Chair on a full-time basis and that she will temporarily step down as Chair of the company's audit committee until she leaves Telstra.

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Tesla says Denholm will leave Telstra after her six-month notice period with the company is complete.

Two days after the lawsuit, Musk reached a settlement with the commission, agreeing to a personal fine of $20 million, a separate $20 million fine by Tesla and his resignation as chair.

"To ensure a smooth transition during the remainder of Robyn's time at Telstra, Elon will be a resource to Robyn and provide any support that she requests in her role as chair", the statement from the electric car-maker said. 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. However, the carmaker made what Mr Musk called an "historic" profit in the most recent quarter.

A Tesla spokesman said Ms Denholm would receive an annual cash retainer of $300,000, with $8000 in stock options annually.

Denholm has been on the Tesla board as an independent director since 2014 and has had senior roles at other Silicon Valley technology companies including Juniper Networks, where she was chief financial officer, and Sun Microsystems, as well as Japanese carmaker Toyota.

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