Robyn Denholm announced as Tesla chairman replacement

Elon Musk finally steps down as Tesla chair following SEC punishment

Jake Stones
8 Nov 2018
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On Thursday, Tesla finally announced Elon Musk’s replacement as Chairman to the Board of Directors. Stepping in to take his place will be former CFO and head of strategy at Telstra, Robyn Denholm.

With this change, Musk is fulfilling his obligation to step down as Tesla chairman to the board of directors following accusations of fraud from the US Securities And Exchange Commission (the SEC).

Despite coming from telecom company Telstra, Denholm has been sat on Tesla’s board of directors since 2014, so she’s far from new to Tesla’s operations. Musk has stated that he looks “forward to working even more closely with Robyn as we continue accelerating the advent of sustainable energy.” She still has a six-month notice period to serve at Telstra before the move is complete but, for now, one thing is clear: Musk is paying the consequences of his social media antics.

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The trouble started earlier this year when Musk tweeted that he was going to take Tesla private, boasting he had secured funding and that shares would be sold for $420. According to the SEC, this claim “lacked an adequate basis in fact,” and raised the investigations which inevitably led to his forced removal as chairman.

The SEC also demanded a $20m fine for both Musk and Tesla which will be used to repay harmed investors. He has also been prohibited from returning to the position of chairman for three years and his conversations and communications with investors will now have to be closely monitored.

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Drawing attention to Musk’s use of Twitter, the SEC noted that, although it was known he used his personal account to reveal Tesla strategy and updates, his means of doing so failed to present appropriate information which supported these claims. While the investigations are ongoing, Musk has been told he’s unable to comment on his innocence or guilt with respects to the SEC’s accusations.

In the meantime, Musk will remain CEO of Tesla, although I do wonder if the SpaceX founder is starting to wish he took a lift with the Starman.

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