Tesla picks Robyn Denholm to replace Musk as chairperson

A Tesla Inc. Model S electric vehicle is displayed at the company's showroom in Newport Beach California U.S. on Friday

Maverick Tesla chair Elon Musk has been replaced after the billionaire had to step down as the electric-car maker's chief more than a month ago.

Tesla confirmed that Denholm's appointment is effective immediately, but added that she will need to serve a six-month notice period at Telstra before taking on the role properly on a full-time basis.

Musk also retweeted Tesla's announcement saying he has great respect for Denholm and looks forward to working with her.

According to a Tesla spokesperson, Denholm will receive 8,000 stock options each year and a cash retainer of $300,000 upon leaving Telstra to take on this new role.

Tesla has weathered a rocky few months in the wake of Mr Musk's tweets that he had "funding secured" for a deal, later scuttled, to take Tesla private.

An Australian accountant, Denholm is now finance chief at telecoms firm Telstra Corp Ltd and replaces Musk after he was forced to relinquish the role as part of a deal to head off charges of fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Tesla announced that Elon Musk's replacement as its chair will be Robyn Denholm, now chief financial officer at Australian telecommunications operator Telstra.

'I look forward to working even more closely with Robyn as we continue accelerating the advent of sustainable energy'. For one, Musk was hit with shareholder lawsuits and an SEC investigation over his tweets about taking the company private.

He will help ease the 55-year-old Denholm's transition, Tesla said. Tesla's shares soared following his comments. She was chief financial and operations officer at Juniper Networks for nine years, and worked at Sun Microsystems.

Tesla's board, which includes Musk's brother Kimbal, has long come under fire from corporate governance experts for lacking independence and being comprised of Musk loyalists.

Denholm has been chief financial officer and head of strategy at Telstra, Australia's former telephone monopoly, since the start of October. Musk later tweeted that this was "incorrect". Tesla shares rose slightly to $349.34 in premarket trading.

As part of Musk's settlement with the SEC, Tesla also is supposed to monitor Twitter posts that he makes if they are related to developments at the company.

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