Tesla names Robyn Denholm as its new chairwoman, replacing Elon Musk

Tesla names Robyn Denholm as its new chairwoman, replacing Elon Musk

Tesla names Robyn Denholm as its new chairwoman, replacing Elon Musk

Tesla has announced that Robyn Denholm of Australia's Telstra will become its new board chair.

Denholm, who has served on Tesla's board since 2014, will leave her role as CFO of Telstra, the Australian telecom giant, in six months.

Musk had agreed to vacate his post as board chairperson as part of a settlement with U.S. regulators of a lawsuit alleging he duped investors with misleading statements about a proposed buyout of the company.

The new chairman isn't likely to influence Musk's behavior, said Frank Schwope, an analyst with NordLB in Germany.

Denholm, one of two female directors on the nine-member board, assumes her new position immediately, Tesla said.

Making Denholm a full-time chair also creates governance problems because she could become a Tesla executive, blurring her role as an independent check on management, Elson said.

Days after settling with the SEC, Musk mocked the agency, in another tweet that labelled the agency the "Shortseller Enrichment Commission".

Top proxy advisers Institutional Shareholder Services and Glass, Lewis & Co had each classified Denholm as an "independent" director of Tesla in reports to the carmaker's investors earlier this year. "She's not a proven entity in this kind of work", she said.

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

Tesla shares were up 1.4 percent in morning trading. A spokesperson at the company told CNBC that Denholm will receive 8,000 stock options each year and a cash retainer of $300,000 once she leaves Telstra.

Since then, she has worked at Swiss power grid maker ABB Ltd, network gear firm Juniper Networks and 1980s and 90s computing giant Sun Microsystems.

The news comes just weeks after Tesla posted net profit of $312 million for the third quarter, by far its largest ever.

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

The appointment of Denholm caps months of turbulence for Tesla amid investor demands for stronger oversight.

Directors will create a permanent committee to ensure implementation of the terms of the SEC settlement, which include setting up procedures and controls to oversee Musk's communications - including his tweets.

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

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