Can Tesla's new board member keep Elon Musk at bay?

DETROIT – Australian Telecommunications Director Robyn Denholm brings the necessary trend for the financial and automotive industry to its new role as Tesla's chairman. But her biggest challenge is whether she can withstand a CEO with a proclivity for misconduct.

Denholm, who has been a Tesla board member for almost five years, was named post last Wednesday and replaced Elon Musk as part of a

Corporate Management Experts say they would have preferred an outsider with production competence appointed to lead the board , now dominated by people with personal and economic ties to Musk, including his brother.

They are not sure if Denholm was employed to put the Securities and Exchange Commission in order to comply with the settlement, or whether she could actually correlate the visionary, but irreconcilable Musk, who is CEO.

Musk's Twitter Surprise [1[ads1]9659006] "With all the crazy things that happen, she was there," said Rohan Williamson, a finance professor studying business management at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business. "She could not control him before. Is something something that will change?"

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Robyn Denholm, Tesla's new chairman

Denholm, 55, is Chief Financial Officer and Strategy Head of Telstra Corp., Australia's largest telecommunications company. Her new role in Tesla was mainly due to the lack of board control over Musk, especially when he made a surprise message on Twitter in August that the funding was secured to take Tesla privately at $ 420 per share. 19659002] It drove up Tesla's share price and hurt short-sellers (investors aiming for the company's success). Finally, a SEC action lawsuit argued that Musk disliked investors.

Denholm will descend from Telstra after six months, and then she will work at Tesla, where she has earned a living since 2014. Under SEC The settlement can not return Musk as leader in three years and only with shareholder votes.

The movement chooses Denholm from relative ambiguity to a profiled position to try to muse Musk and control a company struggling to produce cars and earn money.

Charles Elson, Director of Corporate Governance Center at Delaware University, said that Tesla should have taken someone from the outside. No matter how talented Denholm may be, and although she seems to have fewer ties to Musk than other board members, she has a shadow over her to be on the board that did little like Musk failed.

"You really need to wonder," he said. "No other CEO of another public company would have survived this."

Making Denholm a full-time chair also creates management problems because she could become a Tesla leader who strikes her role as an independent control of management, Elson said.

E-mail sent to Denholm Thursday was not immediately returned, and Tesla rejected a comment in addition to the statement to refer Denholm as chairman.

From Silicon Valley to Toyota

Denholm gives financial experience and other positive to the table for Tesla, said Michael Cusumano, professor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management.

Before Telstra, she worked in Silicon Valley as CFO of Juniper Networks and head of corporate strategic planning at Sun Microsystems. She was also National Finance Director in Toyota's business in Australia, and she is a board member of Swiss Robotics and Industrial Machinery ABB.

"She could get a little more financial discipline for Tesla," who has $ 10 billion in debt and must continue to produce a large number of lower-priced model 3 sedans to service her big debt and pay the bills, "said Cusumano. Tesla cars also have reliability issues, he said.

Cusumano further pointed out that Denholm's record as a Tesla board member is not necessarily an indication of how she should be like a voice woman.

"She has had a backseat to the chaos and she did not or was unable to change anything," said Cusumano, who has served on corporate boards. "All information you receive is from the CEO, COO, CFO," said he. "It's really a limited position. So I do not think we can say that, well, she was ineffective as a director, the whole board was ineffective, so she probably would be ineffective as a leader. "

A rarity for Tesla: Profit

On Twitter Thursday morning Musk wrote that he has great respect for Denholm. "Very much looking forward to working together," he wrote.

In a statement, Denholm said that she believes in Tesla and looks forward to helping Musk and the company "achieve sustainable profitability and drive long-term shareholder value. "[19659002] Tesla achieved a net profit of $ 311.5 million in the third quarter. It was only the third time that Tesla has quarterly earnings in its eight-year history as a public company and for the first time in two years. never reported annual profits.

During the settlement with the SEC, it is also mandatory for Tesla to appoint two new independent board members, and it must review Musk's post on the company on Twitter. Musk and Tesla each had to pay e a $ 20 million penalty under the September agreement with the SEC, and he can not return as leader for three years.

But the management of Musk will be a great job for Denholm. Even after the settlement was announced, Musk SEC spotted and called it "Shortseller Enrichment Commission" before the quiet promised it for "doing amazing work."

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