New Tesla chairman named after Musk's 'tweet' woes

Tesla chose one of its independent directors, Robyn Denholm, to take over from Elon Musk as the company's chairman.

Tesla has appointed Ms Robyn Denholm as chairman of the board of directors, after a run-in with the US securities regulators cost Mr Elon Musk the position he had held since leading the electric carmaker's first funding round 14 years ago.

Ms Denholm will preside over Tesla's board with immediate effect and will leave her role as chief financial officer and head of strategy at Telstra, the Australian telecommunications company, once her six-month notice period with Telstra is complete.

Stepping down from the chairman's role was a condition of the accord Mr Musk reached with the Securities and Exchange Commission in September to settle fraud charges related to his tweets on taking the company private. Mr Musk will remain on the board as a director.

Ms Denholm has served on Tesla's board since 2014.

It marks the end of an era for Mr Musk, 47, who became Tesla chairman when he led a US$7.5 million initial investment in the company in April 2004.

While he will remain chief executive officer, fallout from Mr Musk's tweets - in which he claimed to have secured the funding and investor support to buy out investors at US$420 (S$575) a share - will last for years to come.

In addition to agreeing to a three-year ban from serving as chairman, Mr Musk and Tesla agreed that the firm would add two new independent directors. Procedures will also be put in place to oversee Mr Musk's communications.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2018, with the headline 'New Tesla chairman named after Musk's 'tweet' woes'. Print Edition | Subscribe