Tesla appoints Robyn Denholm to replace Elon Musk as chairman

The electric car company has named Elon Musk’s successor after he was forced to step down as chairman following claims of fraud by US regulators.

Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) have appointed Robyn Denholm as its new chairman in a move that will see Elon Musk step down from the position, but remain with the company as its CEO.

'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,' Robyn said.

Musk expressed his excitement in working with Denholm, who served as CFO of Australian telecoms firm Telstra before accepting her new role.

‘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,' said Musk.

‘I look forward to working even more closely with Robyn as we continue accelerating the advent of sustainable energy,’ he added.

Musk’s missteps

Musk agreed to step down as chairman of the electric car company in October after allegations of securities fraud were brought against the entrepreneur following a series of tweets claiming that Tesla had secured adequate funding to de-list the business and take it private.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigated the take private claims made by Musk and found them to be ‘false and misleading’, leading to the US regulator to file a lawsuit accusing him of securities fraud.

Musk agreed to step down as chairman as part of a settlement with the SEC, which also includes some financial penalties.

The announcement comes after a controversial few months for the entrepreneur, who accused a British diver involved in the cave rescue of Thai schoolboys earlier this year a paedophile and was seen smoking marijuana on popular podcast The Joe Rogan Experience.

Tesla in trouble

The electric carmaker it yet to report an annual profit, with the company facing scrutiny from the US authorities over the production of its Model 3.

However, the company has seen its share price soar after what Musk called an ‘historic’ profit in its latest quarterly earnings report.

Despite the stock performing relatively well of late, there are a lot of concerns over the company’s long-term future, with investment bank Goldman Sachs predicting the electric carmaker’s share price will fall by 30% in the first quarter 2019 in a note to investors.

Goldman analysts argue that a series of electric car launches by rival manufacturers will increase competition and put pressure on Tesla’s share price.

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