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Australian woman selected as Elon Musk’s Tesla replacement

Elon Musk ws forced to step down as Tesla's chair.
Telstra's Robyn Denholm will replace Elon Musk as chair of the Tesla board. Photo: AAP
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Senior Telstra executive Robyn Denholm has been tapped to take the reins of Tesla as the electric car manufacturer’s new board chair.

Ms Denholm is currently the chief financial officer and head of strategy with Telstra, but will be leaving that position in six months time in order to fully dedicate herself to leading Tesla, the car company said in a statement.

“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.

The appointment comes after US Securities and Exchange Commission forced Mr Musk to step down from the role after posting a joke to Twitter about buying back the company’s stock, which the regulator said “caused significant market disruption”.

Tesla was also required to pay a $US40 million ($55.37 million) fine as a result of the incident, which many speculated was intended to impress Mr Musk’s then-girlfriend, Canadian musician Grimes.

Ms Denholm, who has been on Tesla’s board since 2014, has previously worked with a range of technology and automotive firms, including Sun Microsystems, Toyota, and Juniper Networks.

Robyn Denholm, the new chair of Tesla.
Telstra’s Robyn Denholm will replace Elon Musk as Tesla’s chair. Photo: AAP

“She is widely credited with leading a team that drove significant increases in Juniper’s revenues, overseeing Juniper’s corporate transformation during her nine-year tenure as chief financial and operations officer,” Tesla said.

Mr Musk said he was pleased with the choice and is eager to work with Ms Denholm as she transitions into his former 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,” he said.

In October, it was speculated that Twenty First Century Fox chief executive James Murdoch would take over as the business’ chair, having served on the board since July 2017.

Tesla’s share price closed almost a full percentage up during US trading over night.