Tesla Inc.’s (TSLA) hunt for a new board chair is over.
Late on Wednesday, the electric car maker announced that the chief financial officer of Australian telecommunications company Telstra has been appointed to chair its board. Robyn Denholm, an independent director at Tesla since 2014, takes over the role from Elon Musk. The 55-year-old will be leaving Telstra once her six-month notice period is complete and will also temporarily step down as chair of Tesla’s audit committee.
Musk, Tesla's founder and CEO, was forced to resign as chairman of the electric car maker by U.S. regulators. The Securities and Exchange Commission gave Tesla until Nov. 13 to name an independent board chair after Musk tweeted in August that he had “funding secured” to take the company private. Regulators said the tweets were fraudulent, but agreed to let the billionaire retain his role as CEO as part of a settlement.
Denholm, who has an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Sydney and a master’s degree in commerce from the University of New South Wales, has worked in senior roles for a number of technology companies. She previously served as CFO and COO at networking equipment vendor Juniper Networks Inc. (JNPR) and in a range of executive positions at Sun Microsystems, Toyota (TM) and Arthur Andersen & Co., before becoming CFO and head of strategy at Telstra, Australia's largest telecommunications company. She has previously called herself a "car enthusiast" and had a Model S on order when she was first approached by Tesla in 2014.
“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.
Tesla confirmed that Denholm’s appointment is effective immediately, but added that she will need to serve a six-month notice period at Telstra before taking on the role properly on a full-time basis. 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.
"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," she said.
Some Tesla directors had reportedly wanted Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (FOX) CEO James Murdoch to replace Musk as chairman.