Tesla picks insider to replace Musk as chair after SEC row

Tesla CEO Elon Musk
Tesla CEO Elon Musk
Author

09 November, 2018

Denholm, the CFO of telecommunications firm Telstra, is unique among Tesla's board members as having actually worked in the automotive business - at Toyota Motor Corporation Australia - earlier in her career.

Denholm, an independent director at Tesla since 2014, now serves as the chief financial officer of Telstra, Australia's biggest telecom company.

Denholm, 55, has been an independent director of Tesla since 2014 and the head of its audit committee.

"I look forward to working even more closely with Robyn as we continue accelerating the advent of sustainable energy", Musk said in a statement.

Announcing the appointment, Tesla said in a statement that to "ensure a smooth transition...." This sparked a probe by the Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC) finance regulator in the United States, who insisted on tighter governance at the pioneering EV auto maker.

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

Musk agreed on September 29 to step aside as board chairman for three years following a settlement with the SEC over his August 7 tweet that he had "funding secured" to take the public company private.

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In August, Musk tweeted that he had thought about taking the company private and wrote that he had secured funding for a deal at $420 a share.

Musk is being replaced as part of an SEC settlement for the CEO's infamous and expensive "funding secured" tweet.

That alluded to shortsellers, investors who have bet that Tesla shares will fall and who are frequently the subject of Musk´s derision. "She's not a proven entity in this kind of work", she said.

The announcement comes after Telsa had until November 13 to name an independent board chairman under its agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Musk, who remains Tesla's biggest shareholder and the driving force behind its ambitious plans to reshape electric battery technology and vehicle transport, tweeted https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/1060452014642016256 his approval of the appointment.

As part of Musk's settlement with the SEC, Tesla also is supposed to monitor Twitter posts that he makes if they are related to developments at the company.


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