Tesla Names Robyn Denholm to Replace Elon Musk as Chair

November 8, 2018

By Carlo Versano

Elon Musk will have someone to answer to at Tesla.

The electric carmaker announced late Wednesday that Robyn Denholm would take Musk's place as chair of the board. Denholm, a Tesla ($TSLA) board member, will leave her job as chief financial officer of Telstra, an Australian telco giant and inherit Musk's chairman duties full-time in six months when her notice period is complete, the company said in a statement. She will temporarily resign as chair of Tesla's audit committee while she completes her time at Telstra.

Musk had agreed to step down as chairman as part of a deal he struck with the SEC to settle charges that he manipulated the stock price when he sent that infamous "funding secured" tweet in August. He also agreed to a pay a $20 million fine as part of that settlement.

Denholm is no stranger to the machinations of Silicon Valley. She held top positions at Juniper Networks ($JNPR) and Sun Microsystems, as well as Toyota ($TM). Her deep background in corporate finance should help soothe the worries of Tesla investors that the company's balance sheet is in need of stabilizing.

"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," Denholm said in the statement.

Tesla shares had been on a roller-coaster ride this year but were on the rise since the company reported a record quarterly profit and beat expectations on vehicle deliveries.