Robyn Denholm is Elon Musk's new boss at Tesla


Robyn Denholm, CFO of Australian telecommunications company Telstra, will take over as the new Board Chair at Tesla Motors, according to an announcement made by the company late on Wednesday. 

(L-R) Robyn Denholm, Elon Musk

Robyn, who has served as an Independent Director on Tesla's board since 2014, will take over once her notice period at Telstra ends in six months' time. The announcement, put out by Tesla on social media and other channels, puts to rest the intense speculation about who would replace Elon Musk after he resigned in September as part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) which had found the company guilty of not having disclosure controls and procedures after Musk tweeted that he was planning to take the company private. The SEC also imposed at $20 million fine, though Musk remains CEO.

"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 was quoted as saying in the Tesla release.

Prior to joining Telstra, Robyn has served in various leadership roles in technology companies including Juniper Networks and Sun Microsystems. She is widely credited with leading a team that drove significant increases in Juniper's revenues, and overseeing its corporate transformation, the statement said.

She has also served in a number of finance management roles in the automotive industry while at Toyota. Robyn has a Bachelor of Economics degree from University of Sydney and a Master's degree in Commerce from the University of New South Wales.

According to a CNBC report quoting a Tesla spokesperson, "once Denholm leaves Telstra she will receive 8,000 stock options each year and a cash retainer of $300,000".

Commenting on her appointment, Elon 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.

He added, "I look forward to working even more closely with Robyn as we continue accelerating the advent of sustainable energy." Elon reiterated this on Twitter too.

Incidentally, the settlement with the SEC includes setting up a protocol to oversee Elon's communications, and this includes his tweets. The company will need to have a lawyer review the messages that Elon and senior executives put out on social media.

In late October, Tesla reported its highest ever quarterly profit of $312 million on a revenue of $6.8 billion. It also generated close to $190 million in revenue from the sale of regulatory credits. The electric car maker has battled production challenges and finally announced that it had managed to speed up the process.



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