Tesla Inc. has named Robyn Denholm as chair of its board, replacing its founder Elon Musk, who agreed to step down from the post as part of a settlement with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Earlier, The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a suit in New York accusing Musk of fraud, alleging his fake tweets about the electric car company got funds to go private, which had no basis in fact. As a result, Musk had to step down from the chair of the company. Also, both Musk and Tesla Inc. had to pay $20 million to financial regulators.
Denholm, one of two female directors on the nine-member board, assumes her new position immediately. She has been an independent director on Tesla’s board since 2014.
Denholm, 55, is currently the chief financial officer of Telstra Corp Ltd, Australia’s largest telecommunications company.
She will leave her role as CFO and head of strategy at Telstra once her six-month notice period with the company is complete, Tesla said in a statement on Wednesday. She was appointed as Telstra’s CFO in July.
Denholm told the Financial Times she was really excited about the opportunity to chair the Tesla board, even though it meant stepping down from her role at Telstra just over a month after taking it on.
Her global experience in both Australia and Silicon Valley encompasses leadership roles across a range of technology companies, including Telstra, Juniper Networks, and Sun Microsystems. She is widely credited with leading a team that drove significant increases in Juniper’s revenues, overseeing Juniper’s corporate transformation during her nine-year tenure as Chief Financial and Operations Officer. Her experience also includes numerous finance management roles in the automotive industry while at Toyota.
“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,” Robyn said.
“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,” said Elon. “I look forward to working even more closely with Robyn as we continue accelerating the advent of sustainable energy.”
Robyn holds a bachelors degree in economics from the University of Sydney and a masters degree in commerce from the University of New South Wales and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.