After Elon Musk was stood down by the SEC as chair of Tesla, reports swirled that he was considering Australian businessman and friend James Murdoch as his successor.
It has now been revealed that an Australian will be stepping into the role - in the form of current Telstra CFO Robyn Denholm.
“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,” said Denholm in a statement.
The appointment is effective immediately, however Denholm will complete her six-month notice period with Telstra.
Hired as COO by Telstra in 2017, she had only stepped into her new position of CFO last month.
Denholm has served on the Tesla board as an independent director since 2014.
As well as her time with Telstra and Tesla, Denholm has worked with tech companies Sun Microsystems and Juniper Networks, as well as seven years with Toyota Australia.
Telstra CEO Andy Penn acknowledged the challenge of balancing the two roles.
“We know that it has become increasingly difficult to balance her responsibilities as Telstra CFO with the increased activity of the Tesla board,” he said.
Musk was reprimanded by the US Securities and Exchange Commission after he publicly shared his plans to take Tesla private.
Musk stated that he had “funding secured” at the time.
However, the move did not eventuate, leaving the SEC to stand down Musk as chair of his company for at least three years and fine him $US20 million.
Despite the circumstances, Musk welcomed the appointment of his successor.
“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,” he said.
“I look forward to working even more closely with Robyn as we continue accelerating the advent of sustainable energy.”
In a statement, Tesla said that “to ensure a smooth transition… Elon will be a resource to Robyn and provide any support that she requests”.
The problem with Musk
The SEC’s punishment also states that Tesla must “put in place additional controls and procedures to oversee Musk’s communications”.
In her new role, Denholm will no doubt be responsible for ensuring this happens.
Musk’s ‘communications’ have been a recurring issue through 2018.
Aside from the Twitter incident with the SEC, Musk has labelled a British rescue diver a “pedo” and smoked marijuana on a filmed podcast interview.
Both incidents saw Tesla’s shares crash as a result.