Tesla overlooks James Murdoch for chairman role vacated by Elon Musk

Cornelia Mascio
Novembre 8, 2018

The settlement requires Tesla to install an independent chairman, among other penalties.

Australian Robyn Denholm, the chief financial officer at Telstra, will replace Elon Musk as chair of Tesla, the company has announced.

The announcement scotches reports that James Murdoch was the frontrunner for the job. Musk and Tesla settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in September after the USA agency sued for fraud.

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.

He also taken aim at short-sellers, or investors who borrowed shares of Tesla and immediately sold them with the hope that Tesla's share price would fall, a number of times.

The SEC accused him of manipulating the market and sued him in late September for making "false and misleading" statements to investors.

Mr Musk heaped praise on his replacement. 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 spokeswoman also said Tesla was actively looking for two additional independent directors. However, the carmaker made what Mr Musk called an "historic" profit in the most recent quarter.

Musk said: 'Robyn has extensive experience in both the tech and auto industries, and she has made significant contributions as a Tesla Board member over the past four years in helping us become a profitable company.

She will also be leaving her role as CFO and Head of Strategy at Telstra.

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"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.

She will give up these positions after serving a six-month notice period to take up a full-time chairman position at Tesla.

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