Tesla names board director to replace Musk

Jermaine Castillo
November 9, 2018

Tesla Inc. (TSLA.O) chose Robyn Denholm to succeed Elon Musk as board chair, selecting an independent director to contend with the carmaker's mercurial chief executive officer following his run-ins with regulators and investors.

Although Denholm appears to have fewer ties to Musk than other directors, she still was on the board through numerous cases of weird behavior by Musk, including his surprise tweet to take Tesla private, smoking what looked like marijuana during a YouTube interview, and labeling a British diver a pedophile in a dispute over the rescue of Thai youth soccer players who were trapped in a cave.

Robyn Denholm takes over the role from founder Elon Musk, who will remain as Tesla's chief executive.

Australia's Robyn Denholm will become the new chair of Tesla's board, replacing Elon Musk.

Announcing the appointment, Tesla said in a statement that to "ensure a smooth transition...."

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Both Musk and Tesla paid a US$20 million ($28 million) fine as part of the agreement, although neither were forced to admit guilt.

Tesla has weathered a rocky few months in the wake of Mr Musk's tweets that he had "funding secured" for a deal, later scuttled, to take Tesla private.

However, Telstra said in a financial filing of its own [pdf] that while the Tesla role would begin on November 13, Denholm would have to continue in the CFO and head of strategy role at the telco until May 6, 2019.

Inquiries to the automaker by Automotive News have prompted Tesla to deny Musk's involvement in the account, responding with a simple "No."The Drive's own inquiries have ushered the same response".

"But it does violate the spirit of the settlement, which was to change the culture of the board so there was a check on Musk's worst instincts", he added. In the meantime, she'll work closely with Musk.

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Prior to working at Telstra, Denholm spent seven years at Toyota in Australia, where she was a senior financial manager.

It's hard not to feel sorry for Musk, who as a genius tech entrepreneur is probably not used to bowing down to authority.

In premarket trade on the Nasdaq exchange Thursday, Tesla's share price was up 0.24 percent at $349.00.

Musk smoked pot while appearing on The Joe Rogan Experience in September and called the SEC the "Shortseller Enrichment Commission" in an October tweet, after their settlement.

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