Tesla names new chair to re­place Elon Musk

The Guardian Australia - - Headlines - Julia Kollewe

Tesla has ap­pointed Robyn Den­holm as chair of its board, re­plac­ing the elec­tric car­maker’s bil­lion­aire founder Elon Musk.

Den­holm, one of two fe­male di­rec­tors on the nine-mem­ber board, as­sumes her new po­si­tion im­me­di­ately, Tesla said. It will be­come full-time once she leaves her role as chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer and head of strat­egy at Tel­stra, Aus­tralia’s largest tele­com com­pany, after her six-month no­tice pe­riod.

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

In late Septem­ber, Musk, who re­mains chief ex­ec­u­tive and is also Tesla’s big­gest in­vestor, agreed to step down as chair for three years and pay a fine in a deal with the US Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion over tweets he made about tak­ing the firm into pri­vate own­er­ship. The fi­nan­cial reg­u­la­tor ac­cused Musk of fraud and mis­lead­ing in­vestors, and fined him and the com­pany $20m each.

Musk has also been em­broiled in other scan­dals. He is be­ing sued by a Bri­tish diver he called a “pedo” after the two had a row over how to save a group of chil­dren stuck in a Thai cave. Musk also courted con­tro­versy when he smoked cannabis while live on a ra­dio show.

De­spite the scan­dals, Tesla made a profit of $312m in the third quar­ter, well ahead of Wall Street fore­casts, with rev­enues of $6.8bn. The mid-priced Tesla Model 3 was the fifth best­selling pas­sen­ger car in Amer­ica, ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try an­a­lyst Ed­munds.

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

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. I look for­ward to work­ing even more closely with Robyn as we con­tinue ac­cel­er­at­ing the ad­vent of sus­tain­able en­ergy.”

Den­holm 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.”

Pho­to­graph: ABB Group

Robyn Den­holm who has been an­nounced as Tesla’s new Board Chair. Elon Musk re­mains chief ex­ec­u­tive of Tesla.

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