×

Tesla Names Telstra’s Robyn Denholm Chair, Passing Over James Murdoch

James Murdoch was reportedly the front-runner to be named chairman of Tesla’s board to replace Elon Musk — but the electric-vehicle maker has steered in a different direction.

Late Wednesday, Tesla announced that it has appointed board member Robyn Denholm, CFO and head of strategy at Australian telecom provider Telstra, as its chair effective immediately. Denholm, who has served on Tesla’s board since, 2014 will exit Telstra after a six-month period to serve as Tesla’s chair full-time.

Musk in September agreed to step down as chairman of Tesla for three years as part of an SEC settlement over a securities-fraud case, after the tech mogul’s Aug. 7 tweet claiming that he had “funding secured” for a buyout of the tech company at $420 per share. Under the SEC agreement, Tesla also must appoint two additional independent directors.

Last month, the Financial Times reported that James Murdoch, currently 21st Century Fox’s CEO and a member of Tesla’s board, was the leading candidate to become chairman of Tesla. Musk, in response to the report, had tweeted, “This is incorrect.”

“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,” Musk said in a statement. “I look forward to working even more closely with Robyn as we continue accelerating the advent of sustainable energy.”

Denholm has held management roles at various technology companies, including Telstra, Juniper Networks and Sun Microsystems. She also held multiple finance-management roles while working at Toyota. As part of her appointment as Tesla’s chair, Denholm will temporarily step down as chair of the board’s audit committee until she leaves Telstra.

In a statement, Denholm said, “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.”

FT’s report last month about Murdoch being the top candidate for the Tesla chair seat also said “external options were still being considered.” Murdoch will not join his father, Rupert Murdoch, and his brother Lachlan at “New Fox,” the company that will remain after 21CF’s sale of assets to Disney is completed. In addition, James Murdoch stepped down as chairman of Sky following its sale to Comcast.

More Biz

  • Discovery CEO David Zaslav Sees 2018

    Discovery CEO David Zaslav Sees 2018 Compensation Soar to $129.4 Million

    Discovery Inc. president-CEO David Zaslav is once again making headlines for an enormous compensation package. Zaslav’s 2018 compensation soared to $129.44 million in 2018, fueled by stock options and grants awarded as the longtime Discovery chief signed a new employment contract last July that takes him through 2023 at the cable programming group. Zaslav received [...]

  • Jonathan Lamy RIAA

    Jonathan Lamy Stepping Down From RIAA

    Jonathan Lamy, the Recording Industry Association of America’s longtime executive VP of communications and marketing, is stepping down from his post after 17 years, he announced today. As he put it in an email to Variety, “I started back in 2002, which means it’s been 17+ years, four different RIAA CEOs, three format changes and [...]

  • Fox Layoffs

    Disney-21st Fox Layoffs: TV Divisions Brace for Deep Cuts

    A second day of layoffs has begun on the Fox lot in the wake of Disney completing its acquisition of 21st Century Fox on Wednesday. Longtime 20th Century Fox Television Distribution president Mark Kaner is among the senior executives who were formally notified with severance details on Friday morning. 21st Century Fox’s international TV sales [...]

  • anthony pellicano

    Hollywood Fixer Anthony Pellicano Released From Federal Prison

    Anthony Pellicano, the Hollywood private eye whose wiretapping case riveted the industry a decade ago, was released from a federal prison on Friday, a prison spokeswoman confirmed. Pellicano was sentenced in 2008 to 15 years, following his conviction on 78 charges of wiretapping, racketeering, conspiracy and wire fraud. He had been in custody since 2003, [...]

  • This image taken from the Twitter

    HBO’s Reaction to Trump’s ‘Game of Thrones’ Campaign

    Everyone wants a piece of the “Game of Thrones” lemon cake. From Bud Light to Red Bull the world of Westeros is open to a lot of brand partnerships, unless you’re using that iconic typeface to push a political agenda. In November of 2018 President Donald Trump unveiled a “Thrones” inspired poster with the words [...]

  • Leaving Neverland HBO

    'Leaving Neverland' Lawsuit Proves to Be a Judicial Hot Potato

    The Michael Jackson estate sued HBO last month for airing the documentary “Leaving Neverland,” which accuses the late King of Pop of serial child sexual abuse. Since then, the case has had a difficult time finding a judge to handle it. Three federal judges have recused themselves in the last week, citing potential financial conflicts [...]

  • Members of the public mourn at

    Guy Oseary’s New Zealand Fundraiser Nears $150,000, Continues Raising Money

    In the wake of the horrific shootings at New Zealand mosques last week that killed some 49 people, Maverick chief Guy Oseary launched a GoFundMe campaign to “support those affected by this tragedy at this very difficult time,” and began it with an $18,000 donation. Boosted by donations from many celebrities — including Amy Schumer, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content