Tesla appoints Robyn Denholm as new chairperson

Robyn Denholm has been an independent director at Tesla since 2014

Tesla names new chair to replace Elon Musk

Here's what you need to know about the woman tasked with keeping Elon Musk in check. Tesla made the announcement via their website yesterday.

Tesla's board of directors has appointed Robyn Denholm as Chair of the company's board, effective immediately, replacing the company's founder Elon Musk.

Musk agreed on September 29 to step aside as board chairman for three years following a settlement with the SEC over his August 7 tweet that he had "funding secured" to take the public company private.

Denholm has been an independent director at Tesla for four years. Although the appointment as Tesla chair is immediate, she will leave her role at Telstra after a six-month notice period, Tesla said.

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Tesla has a new boss, and a big part of her job will be overseeing the old boss.

Under the settlement with the SEC, Tesla also is required to appoint two new independent directors, and it must review Musk's posts about the company on Twitter. By all accounts, Denholm is a canny operator who knows how to make public companies work, and how cars are made. Musk tweeted his support for the decision.

Musk cited Denholm's long experience in the tech and auto industries as strong advantages and said in a statement that he looked forward to working with her.

Denholm worked previously at Toyota Motor Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc. and Juniper Networks Inc., where she was chief financial and operations officer. She has previously called herself a "car enthusiast" and had a Model S on order when she was first approached by Tesla in 2014. However, Musk himself quashed the Times's report, tweeting "This is incorrect". Eventually it drew a lawsuit from the SEC alleging that Musk misled investors. Former Vice President Al Gore was also mooted as a potential successor. She faces the hard task of overseeing Mr Musk, the company's increasingly erratic chief executive.

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Denholm pumped petrol at her parents' filling station before going on to study at Sydney University and joining accountancy firm Arthur Andersen.

According to The Australian newspaper, Denholm said the only things that really disappoint her are rudeness and waste. She is now on to her third Tesla vehicle.

Neither Musk nor Tesla admitted or denied the SEC's findings as part of the settlement.

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