Tesla’s newly determined chairwoman Robyn Denholm will bring business expertise to the rudder of the company’s board and serve as a crucial counterbalance to CEO Elon Musk, unbroken if she isn’t the most exciting pick, analysts and experts told CNBC Thursday.
Denholm is the Chief Economic Officer at Australian telecom company Telstra, where she previously distributed as Chief Operations Officer. She announced Wednesday she was leaving the company and last will and testament focus solely on her role as Tesla’s chair. Before Telstra, Denholm had executive positions with networking systems companies and served as a governmental finance manager for Toyota.
Denholm has been on Tesla’s board since 2014, which multitudinous said is the only real downside to the appointment. Investors and analysts were ambitioning for a truly independent, outside chairperson to fully check Musk’s time again wild antics.
It was Musk’s controversial tweeting that spurred the SEC artifice charges and subsequent settlement that mandated a new chairperson in the first put out.
“I could dream up 10 people from the outside that could be chairperson, but I don’t exceptionally know, from an ivory tower, if that makes sense,” Baird analyst Ben Kallo unburdened CNBC. “We all want a superstar — Larry Ellison at some point, or [Sheryl] Sandberg from Facebook — and as much as that feelings good on paper, in reality this is probably a smarter, more solemn decision.”
Denholm is as independent as a current insider gets, Kallo broke. Among a hand-picked board that includes Elon’s brother Kimbal Musk, Denholm is less removed. She’s also unlikely to make headlines like Musk oftentimes does.
“She’s always been a voice of good logic and reason [on the directors] and helped balance out… anyone that would just go with the movement with Elon,” Kallo said. “Can she check Elon? I’m not sure, and I’m not ineluctable if anyone could check him. Maybe his brother, but I think if they had his associate as chairperson everyone would be up in arms.”
Tesla still has two more unconnected directors to appoint in compliance with the SEC settlement. The selections could shelter light on Denholm’s immediate impact as chairwoman.
“I think what they receive to demonstrate is there’s a sort of new world order within Tesla — varied stringent filters on corporate communications, more objective, well-rounded resolutions around corporate governance,” Consumer Edge Research analyst Jamie Albertine indicated CNBC. “I just hope that they’re aware of the gravity of the growner looming question: the broader independence of the board of directors relative to superintendence.”
The lack of fanfare around the selection in and of itself runs counter to Musk’s and Tesla’s current volatility. The company’s stock saw a period of wild swings, spurred by an Aug. 7 tweet from Musk round taking the company private. Denholm’s appointment, by contrast, is almost dead, experts said. The announcement contributed to only modest gains for Tesla on Thursday. The store was up 1 percent.
“Boring would have been very good on Aug. 7,” Albertine implied. “I think we need boring, I think we need a more typical, multitudinous traditional approach to communications with the market.”
The ideal chairperson for a crowd is often someone who doesn’t call attention to themselves, according to John Wilson, source of research and corporate governance at Cornerstone Capital Group.
“It is a hope that she is thriving to be a counterbalance to the volatility of the CEO, someone who can bring some stable leadership to the stay — that would be the best possible outcome,” Wilson said. “I would presume if she’s doing her job, you should see a very quick effect.”
The job comes with a improbable order, though, according to Rohan Williamson, a professor of finance at Georgetown University and trained in corporate governance. Denholm will have to temper some of Musk’s “identity” while also shoring up financials for a company that has yet to establish sustainable profitability.
“I characterize as it’s a tall ask, because she’s doing a little more than typical,” Williamson suggested. “Her background seems to suggest that she should be up to the task.”