Robyn Denholm to replace Elon Musk as Tesla chair

Posted November 09, 2018

Electric auto pioneer Tesla on Thursday named an Australian telecoms executive to chair its board of directors, after the controversial Elon Musk was forced by U.S. authorities to step back from the role.

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.

Tesla late on Wednesday named Robyn Denholm as its new chairman to replace Elon Musk, effective immediately. In the meantime, she'll work closely with Musk.

A new chairman could conceivably rein in Musk or adjust Musk's role at the world's most drama-filled electric vehicle maker. Musk was required to pay the commision 20 million dollars which Tesla also accepted a 20 million dollar fine.

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In premarket trade on the Nasdaq exchange Thursday, Tesla's share price was up 0.24 percent at $349.00.

Late on Wednesday, the electric vehicle maker announced that the chief financial officer of Australian telecommunications company Telstra has been appointed to chair its board.

Prior to working at Telstra, Denholm spent seven years at Toyota in Australia, where she was a senior financial manager. "Very much look forward to working together", he wrote.

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

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

Musk, whose name is virtually inseparable from Tesla, has an impulsive streak that caused trouble when he tweeted in August that he had "funding secured" for taking Tesla private at $420 per share when no such deal had been worked out.

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

The tech whiz Musk is also facing legal action from British diver Vernon Unsworth, who helped to rescue a football team of Thai boys when they became trapped in a cave, by falsely accusing him on Twitter of being a pedophile.

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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.