Tesla replaces Elon Musk as chair-he’ll stay CEO

Robyn Denholm has been an independent director at Tesla since 2014

Denholm joined the Tesla board as an independent director in 2014, and Musk attributed the firm's recent profitability in part to her contributions.

Denholm has also served as chairwoman of the Tesla board's independent audit committee, and she will step aside from that role for six months until she can wind down her job at Telstra.

"I look forward to working even more closely with Robyn as we continue accelerating the advent of sustainable energy", Musk said in a statement. She held top positions at Juniper Networks ($JNPR) and Sun Microsystems, as well as Toyota ($TM). Other names that had been floated as potential Musk replacements are former Ford Motor chief Alan Mulally, former Boeing CEO Jim McNerney and Fidelity Investments CEO Abigail Johnson.

Whichever came first. At one point, it felt like Elon was going to put on big sunglasses, a fake mustache, speak in a hoary American accent and introduce himself as "Bart Fartberger, the new chairman of Tesla who is definitely not Elon Musk".

According to a Tesla spokesperson, Denholm will receive 8,000 stock options each year and a cash retainer of $300,000 upon leaving Telstra to take on this new role.

The appointment marks the end of an era for Musk, 47, who became chairman when he led a US$7.5 million initial investment in Tesla in April 2004. "So I don't think we can say that, well, she was ineffective as a director, the whole board was ineffective, so she's likely to be ineffective as chair".

More news: Apple loses $1 trillion status after soft holiday forecast

Its shares soared following his comments but weeks later Mr Musk backed away from the plan, blaming feedback from shareholders. After failing to meet prior targets, Musk has accelerated production of the Model 3, Tesla's mass-market vehicle.

On Twitter Thursday morning, Musk wrote that he has great respect for Denholm.

"The challenge of Elon Musk, and at the same time Robyn Denholm, will be to wean Tesla off Elon Musk and make the company sustainable for the future so that it can exist without Elon Musk as chief executive".

The settlement with the securities watchdog required Musk and Tesla to each pay $20 million in fines (€17.5 million).

Inquiries to the automaker by Automotive News have prompted Tesla to deny Musk's involvement in the account, responding with a simple "No."The Drive's own inquiries have ushered the same response". Telsa has never reported an annual profit.

"Just want to that the Shortseller Enrichment Commission is doing incredible work".

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