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Tesla's board to be chaired by Robyn Denholm

By Sheetal Sukhija, Missouri State News
09 Nov 2018, 06:32 GMT+10

CALIFORNIA, U.S. - After agreeing to step down as the chairman of Tesla, Elon Musk was replaced by the Australian executive Robyn Denholm for the role.

Tesla announced in a statement on Thursday that Denholm would replace the company's founder as chair of the electric carmaker's board, while Musk will continue to hold onto the role of chief executive. 

The decision, which was announced by the Palo Alto, California-based company over a month after Musk was forced to step down from the role, will see Denholm take over from Musk, who agreed to relinquish his role as board chair for three years.

The agreement was made last month after Musk settled fraud allegations with U.S. regulators, in the aftermath of his Twitter posts, which led to the charges. 

The billionaire entrepreneur, who has held the role of chairman at Tesla since 2004, had to step down from the role to resolve claims of fraud brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over his ill-advised tweets about taking the company private.

Musk's tweet in early August suggested that he had "funding secured" for a deal to take Tesla private, which caused the company's shares to soar dramatically. 

However, weeks later Musk backed away from the plan and blamed it on feedback from shareholders.

Subsequently, U.S. authorities sued Musk for misleading investors and he and Tesla were each fined $20 million.

Further, as part of the settlement, Musk was obliged to relinquish his role as chairman for three years.

Among the other penalties, Tesla was also instructed to install an independent chairman.

Following the announcement, reports speculated that James Murdoch was the frontrunner for the job.

However, on Thursday, Tesla named the Australian executive Robyn Denholm as its new chairman.

Denholm has been working as the CFO and head of strategy at the Australian telecoms firm Telstra Corp. and had joined Tesla's board in August 2014.

Tesla said in a statement that Denholm will take on a full-time role at Tesla after serving a six-month notice period at the Australian telecom giant.

Robyn Denholm said in a blog post, "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."

Meanwhile, Musk issued a statement saying, "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.”

In the most recent quarter, Musk announced that the carmaker made a "historic" profit. 

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