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November 20, 2018

Tesla names board director to replace Musk

Tesla names board director to replace Musk
'Elon Musk quit under an arrangement with US regulators to settle fraud charges linked to a tweet in which he said he planned to take the company private and had funding to do it' - By: AFP/File Brendan Smialowski

Tesla said it has appointed Robyn Denholm of the Australian telecoms company Telstra as board director after Elon Musk resigned from the post.

The appointment of Denholm, who is Telstra's chief financial officer, is effective immediately but she will serve out her six-month notice period with her current employer, Tesla said in a statement late Wednesday.

Denholm had already served as a member of the Tesla board since 2014.

Musk resigned as Tesla chairman in October under an arrangement with US regulators to settle fraud charges stemming from a tweet in which he said he planned to take the company private and had financing to do it.

Under that settlement he and Tesla each had to pay a $20 million fine but Musk was allowed to stay on as CEO.

Musk will help ease the new board director's transition, Tesla said.

"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 statement from the electric car-maker said.

Besides Telstra, Denholm has worked in other tech companies such as Juniper Networks and Sun Microsystems, and she also worked for Toyota, the statement added.

"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," the statement quotes Musk as saying.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission had charged Musk with securities fraud, alleging that he misled investors when he tweeted on August 7 that he had "funding secured" to privatize the electric automaker at $420 a share, a substantial premium over its share price at the time.

The tweet was one of a number of public statements by Musk that raised questions in the industry about his aptness to lead the company.

Days after settling with the SEC over the now famous tweet, Musk turned around and mocked the agency, in another tweet.

"Just want to that the Shortseller Enrichment Commission is doing incredible work. And the name change is so on point!" Musk said.

That alluded to shortsellers, investors who have bet that Tesla shares will fall and who are frequently the subject of Musk's derision.

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