New Tesla chair’s task to control Musk
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
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.