Electric car maker firm Tesla now has a new chief in the form of Robyn Denholm who will take over the role of its chairman after its founder Elon Musk was forced to step down by investors to resolve fraud claims by financial regulators. Robyn was earlier the chief of finance at Australian telecom firm Telstra and beat close contender James Murdoch. The firm has been under close media scrutiny after Elon Musk posted a comment on social media stating that he has secured funding to make Tesla private. Though stock prices of Tesla soared after his comments, he backed off from the statement explaining that he was under pressure from shareholders to do so.
The media frenzy that followed forced US authorities to sue the entrepreneur for misleading investors and making irresponsible comments and both Elon Musk and Tesla were each fined $20 million. He was also forced to relinquish his role as chairman of the company he built for three years. Angry investors called for stronger steps against Mr. Musk for his erratic behavior that attracted the attention of the media as he has made open statements to the media in the past about sleeping on the sofa at Tesla’s office on most days and confessed to briefly smoking marijuana.
Though Tesla as a firm has not reported its annual profits, it came under strain recently due to delays in the production schedule of its Model 3 electric car which is aimed at a wide market. Mr. Musk, however, declared that the firm has made “historic” profits in its last quarter. Ms. Denholm has been on Tesla’s board since 2014 and will take on the full-time role after completing six month notice period at Telstra. She has worked for large tech brands like Sun Microsystems, Juniper Networks and consulting firms like Arthur Anderson and Toyota in the past. Mr. Musk welcomed her appointment stating that she has made a significant contribution to the company as a board member and will help it become a more profitable company.