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Tesla says Robyn Denholm of Telstra to be new board chair

08 November 2018

Denholm is now chief financial officer at Australian telecoms operator Telstra Corp Ltd and has been an independent director on Tesla's nine-member board since 2014. Denholm is best known for her role as the chief financial officer of Australian telecommunications company Telstra, though she isn't a newcomer to Tesla-she's served on Tesla's board since 2014.

"To ensure a smooth transition during the remainder of Robyn's time at Telstra, Elon will be a resource to Robyn and provide any support that she requests in her role as chair".

The announcement comes ahead of a November 13 deadline that was part of Musk's settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to end claims he misled investors.

His problematic August tweets about trying to take the company private caused months of chaos and culminated in a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

She is now just one of two women on the board of Tesla.

The settlement with the securities watchdog required Musk and Tesla to each pay $20 million in fines (€17.5 million). Musk and Tesla settled with the US SEC in September after the agency sued for fraud.

Although Denholm appears to have fewer ties to Musk than other directors, she still was on the board through numerous cases of weird behaviour by Musk, including his surprise tweet to take Tesla private, smoking what looked like marijuana during a YouTube interview, and labeling a British diver a pedophile in a dispute over the rescue of Thai youth soccer players who were trapped in a cave. Tesla is searching for two more independent directors. Musk's brother, Kimbal, is one of the members.

Aside from her work at Telstra, she has also spent time at technology majors including Juniper Networks and Sun Microsystems.

Mr Musk was also obliged to relinquish his role as chairman for three years.

The 55-year-old Australian will temporarily step down as chair of Tesla's audit committee until she quits Telstra. The mid-priced Tesla Model 3 was the fifth bestselling passenger vehicle in America, according to the industry analyst Edmunds. In it, Musk said he was considering taking Tesla private at $420 a share - and had funding secured.

Tesla says Robyn Denholm of Telstra to be new board chair