Tesla has appointed Robyn Denholm as the new chair of its board of directors.
Denholm replaces Elon Musk, who was forced to step down and pay a $20 million (£15.3m) penalty as part of a settlement with the American Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over a charge of securities fraud. Musk remains as CEO of the electric car manufacturer, which was also required pay a penalty of $20m.
Denholm, until now chief financial officer of Australian telecoms company Telstra, will begin her new role immediately and serve on a full-time basis once her six-month notice period expires. Having been a member of the board as an independent director since 2014, Denholm will now temporarily step down as chair of Tesla's audit committee until she leaves Telstra.
Musk was forced to leave his position after the SEC charged him with fraud in response to his tweet in August suggesting he could take Tesla private at $420 a share, a substantial premium at the time, and had secured funding to do so. The SEC claimed that Musk knew the funding was not secured.
The tweet caused Tesla’s stock price to jump and, according to the SEC, “led to significant market disruption.” The SEC also said that Tesla had not put any procedures in place to determine that Musk’s tweets about the company were accurate or complete.
Musk initially said the SEC’s charges were “unjustified”, but has now reached an agreement with the body to settle the charges. Under the deal, Musk will be ineligible to be re-elected as company chairman for three years.
Tesla has also agreed to appoint two new independent directors to its board, establish a new committee of independent directors and put in place additional controls over Musk’s communications.