Tesla says its new board chair replacing Elon Musk will be a technology and automotive industry veteran, Robyn Denholm of Australia's Telstra. The appointment to the full-time position takes effect immediately though Denholm will leave Telstra, Australia's biggest telecoms company, after a six-month notice period, Tesla said Thursday. Denholm, an Australian, is Telstra's chief financial officer and head of strategy and already has served on Tesla's board as an independent director, the AP reports. She also has worked at various technology companies including Juniper Networks and Sun Microsystems and held finance management posts at Toyota Motor Corp. in Australia.
"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," Denholm said in a statement. Musk agreed to vacate his post as board chairman as part of a settlement with US regulators of a lawsuit alleging he duped investors with misleading statements about a proposed buyout of the company. The settlement in late September with the Securities and Exchange Commission allowed Musk to remain CEO of Tesla but required him to relinquish his role as chairman for at least three years. In a statement, Musk cited Denholm's long experience in the tech and auto industries as strong advantages and said he looked forward to working with her. (Musk says his $20 million tweet was "worth it.")