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Tesla names new board chair replacing Elon Musk

Tesla (TSLA) board on Wednesday announced the appointment of its new Chair, replacing Elon Musk who was asked to step down by the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) in September following his “misleading tweets.”

Robyn Denholm
Courtesy: Tesla

Robyn Denholm, Chief Financial Officer and Head of Strategy at Australia’s largest telecommunications company, Telstra, has been appointed to the role, effective immediately. She will be serving as Tesla Chair on a full-time basis, once she completes her six-month notice period with Telstra.

Denholm has previous served financial management roles at Toyota Australia, besides strategy executive positions at Juniper Networks (JNPR) and Sun Microsystems.

Tesla shares opened up 2% on Thursday.

Tesla added that Denholm will also temporarily step down as Chair of Tesla’s Audit Committee until she leaves Telstra. She has served on the Tesla Board as an independent director since 2014.

“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.

Wall Street was abuzz with speculations over who would take over as the chair of the electric car maker after the SEC barred Musk from serving this post for three years. A few names that cropped up during this period include CEO of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (FOXA) James Murdoch; former Ford (F) chief Alan Mulally; Starbucks (SBUX) founder Howard Schult; and Fidelity Investments CEO Abigail Johnson.

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The appointment comes as a surprise who many, who were anticipating the company to appoint someone with experience in the manufacturing industry. Company watchers were also under the impression that the Tesla would avoid people who served on its board when the “private funding” tweet debacle occurred.

During the most recently announced quarterly results, the electric car maker surprised investors by smashing past estimates and achieving profitability as promised by Musk. Automotive revenues grew 158% year-over-year, driven by increased Model 3 deliveries. Shares soared over 12% in aftermarket hours following the solid results.


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