Electric car maker replaces Musk with Denholm as board chair
SEE ALSO :Tesla sued for passenger deathsThe SEC declined to comment beyond the court judgment. Musk, who remains Tesla's biggest shareholder and the driving force behind its ambitious plans to reshape electric battery technology and car transport, tweeted here his approval of the appointment. “Musk, I believe, has a ton to do with the selection and he wants to be sure that they can see eye-to-eye,” said Elazar Capital analyst Chaim Siegel. 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. HUMBLE BEGINNINGS Denholm pumped petrol at her parents’ filling station before going on to study at Sydney University and joining accounting firm Arthur Andersen. Since then, she has worked at Swiss power grid maker ABB Ltd, network gear firm Juniper Networks and computing firm Sun Microsystems. She has also been national manager of finance for Toyota Australia. Telstra CEO Andy Penn said when he appointed her: “Robyn has a proven track record as a global COO in a business focused on telecommunications networks.” Executive recruiter Patricia Lenkov, however, said that Denholm likely was not the right pick for the job, arguing Tesla needed a figure with more experience dealing with strong founders. “There might be an element of risk here. She’s not a proven entity in this kind of work,” she said. While Tesla is finally starting to make good on Musk’s promises on production of the Model 3 sedan, seen as crucial to the company’s future, it has lost senior executives for sales, human resources, manufacturing and finance in recent months. Its vice president for manufacturing Gilbert Passin was reported last month to have left. “We view the fact that Denholm has prior industry experience with Toyota positively,” said CFRA Research analyst Garrett Nelson, adding it made sense that Tesla should seek to avoid the risk of a genuine outsider clashing with Musk. The Silicon Valley billionaire’s gift for self-promotion has made Tesla one of the world’s most talked-about businesses but also caused public spats with journalists, analysts, Wall Street investors and even rapper Azealia Banks. He is being sued for calling one of the divers behind this year’s Thai cave rescue a “pedo”. According to The Australian newspaper, Denholm said the only things that really disappoint her are rudeness and waste. “Politeness costs you absolutely nothing. It doesn’t matter whether you are the most senior person in the room, or the most junior,” she told the paper in an interview a few years ago.