Tesla names new independent chairman as part of SEC deal

08 November, 2018, 13:58 | Author: Regina Silva
  • A Tesla Inc. Model S electric vehicle is displayed at the company's showroom in Newport Beach California U.S. on Friday

Tesla says Robyn Denholm of Australia's Telstra has been appointed as chair of its board, replacing company co-founder Elon Musk.

The appointment comes more than a month after the billionaire had to step down as the electric-car maker's chairman as part of a settlement with US regulators.

Denholm is now chief financial officer at Australian telecoms operator Telstra Corp Ltd and has been an independent director on Tesla's board since 2014.

However, she will step down temporarily from her role as chairwoman of Tesla's Audit Committee until she has worked her six-month notice period at Telstra, the company said.

"To ensure a smooth transition during the remainder of Robyn's time at Telstra, Elon will be a resource to Robyn and provide any support that she requests in her role as Chair", Tesla said in a news release.

The tweet was one of a number of public statements by Musk that raised questions in the industry about his aptness to lead the company.

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

The Financial Times had in October reported that outgoing Twenty-First Century Fox Inc Chief Executive James Murdoch was the lead candidate for the job, citing two people briefed on discussions.

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A Tesla spokeswoman said Denholm would receive an annual cash retainer of $300,000 and 8,000 stock options annually.

It all started with an August 7 tweet.

Tesla, which has never reported an annual profit, also came under strain over production schedules for its Model 3 electric auto, its newest vehicle aimed at a wider market.

The settlement required Tesla and Musk to pay a fine of $20 million each and for Musk to give up his chairman role for three years.

But Tesla's stock had tumbled by more than 25 per cent before recovering the $7billion loss the SEC lawsuit incurred.

Musk was named chairman in 2004 after becoming the largest investor.

South African-born Musk called Unsworth "a pedo guy" after he criticized him in a television interview about the dramatic rescue and called his called Musk's mini-submarine a "PR stunt".

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