New Tesla chair’s task to con­trol Musk

The Detroit News - - News - From Detroit News wire ser­vices

Detroit – Aus­tralian telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions ex­ec­u­tive Robyn Den­holm brings much-needed fi­nan­cial and auto in­dus­try ex­per­tise to her new role as Tesla’s board chair­woman, but her big­gest chal­lenge is whether she can rein in a CEO with a pro­cliv­ity for mis­be­hav­ior.

Den­holm, who has been a Tesla board mem­ber for nearly five years, was named to the post late Wed­nes­day, re­plac­ing

Elon Musk as part of a se­cu­ri­ties fraud set­tle­ment with U.S. govern­ment reg­u­la­tors.

Cor­po­rate gov­er­nance ex­perts say they would have pre­ferred an out­sider with man­u­fac­tur­ing ex­per­tise be ap­pointed to lead the board, now dom­i­nated by peo­ple with per­sonal and fi­nan­cial ties to Musk, in­clud­ing his brother.

They aren’t sure if Den­holm was hired just to pla­cate the Se­cu­ri­ties and Ex­change Com­mis­sion to com­ply with the set­tle­ment or whether she’ll ac­tu­ally be able to cor­ral the vi­sion­ary but er­ratic Musk, who re­mains CEO.

“With all the crazy stuff go­ing on, she was there,” said Ro­han Wil­liamson, a fi­nance pro­fes­sor who stud­ies cor­po­rate gov­er­nance at Ge­orge­town Univer­sity’s McDonough School of Busi­ness. “She couldn’t con­trol him be­fore. Is any­thing go­ing to change?”

Den­holm, 55, is chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer and strat­egy head at Tel­stra Corp. Ltd., Aus­tralia’s largest telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pany.

Un­der the SEC set­tle­ment, Musk can’t re­turn as chair­man for three years, and only with a share­holder vote.

Subaru re­calls nearly 400K ve­hi­cles for stalls

Detroit – Subaru is re­call­ing nearly 400,000 ve­hi­cles in the U.S. to fix two prob­lems that can cause them to stall.

The first re­call cov­ers about 229,000 Out­back and Legacy ve­hi­cles from the 2018 model year.

Govern­ment doc­u­ments say a soft­ware prob­lem can stop the low-fuel warn­ing light from il­lu­mi­nat­ing and make the miles-to-empty dis­play in­ac­cu­rate.

The prob­lem can cause driv­ers to run out of fuel and stall, in­creas­ing the risk of a crash. Deal­ers will re­pro­gram the soft­ware.

The other re­call cov­ers the 2012 to 2014 Im­preza, and the 2013 BRZ, XV Crosstrek and Toy­ota

Scion FR-S.

The en­gine valve springs in about 166,000 of the ve­hi­cles can frac­ture, caus­ing the en­gines to mal­func­tion or stall. Deal­ers will re­place the springs.

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