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Tesla replaces Elon Musk as chair-he’ll stay CEO

09 November 2018

Tesla announced that Elon Musk's replacement as its chair will be Robyn Denholm, now chief financial officer at Australian telecommunications operator Telstra.

The electric vehicle company said today in a statement that Denholm will leave Telstra after a six-month notice period with Australia's biggest telecoms company.

Elon Musk stepped down as chair of Tesla last month after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued him for his "false and misleading" claims of potential taking Tesla private - now known as the 420 tweet.

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".

Prior to her appointment, she has served as an independent board director prior to since 2014, Tesla added.

Musk and Tesla each had to pay a $20 million penalty under the September deal with the SEC, and he can not return as chairman for three years. Tesla says Denholm will continue to work with Telstra during this period as well.

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"She's from Musk's inner circle and is unlikely to put obstacles in the way of decisions", Schwope said.

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. Tesla shares rose slightly to $349.34 in premarket trading.

Robyn Denholm has experience in both Australia and Silicon Valley across a range of big companies, including Telstra, Juniper Networks, Sun Microsystems, as well as Toyota, where she worked in numerous finance management roles.

Despite the scandals, Tesla made a profit of $312m in the third quarter, well ahead of Wall Street forecasts, with revenues of $6.8bn. The aim is to provide stronger oversight to match Tesla's growing stature and market value.

That drew attention from the SEC because the tweet pushed up Tesla's stock price and harmed short-sellers who bet that the share price would fall.

A union-affiliated investor group and officials representing major pension funds in four states have called on Tesla to go beyond the terms of the SEC settlement to fix its corporate governance issues.

Tesla replaces Elon Musk as chair-he’ll stay CEO