Telstra CFO hangs up, plugs in as new Tesla chair

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Telstra CFO hangs up, plugs in as new Tesla chair

Replaces Elon Musk.

Telstra’s CFO and head of strategy Robyn Denholm will leave the telco to replace Elon Musk as full-time chair of electric carmaker Tesla.

Tesla released a statement a short time ago saying that Denholm had handed in her notice at Telstra and would take on the full-time chair role “effectively immediately.”

However, Telstra said in a financial filing of its own [pdf] that while the Tesla role would begin on November 13, Denholm would have to continue in the CFO and head of strategy role at the telco until May 6, 2019.

“So that she will be able to devote her full attention to the Tesla chair role, Robyn will be leaving her role as CFO and head of strategy at Telstra ... once her six-month notice period with Telstra is complete,” the carmaker said.

“To ensure a smooth transition during the remainder of Robyn’s time at Telstra, Elon will be a resource to Robyn and provide any support that she requests in her role as chair.

“Robyn will continue to provide the necessary focus and time to Telstra during the remainder of her time there, and she will also temporarily step down as chair of Tesla’s Audit Committee until she leaves Telstra.”

Denholm has served on the Tesla Board as an independent director since 2014.

She has only been CFO since October 1 this year, though she joined Telstra in January 2017 as its chief operations officer.

Aside from her work at Telstra, she has also spent time at technology majors including Juniper Networks and Sun Microsystems.

Musk stepped down as Tesla chair in late September as part of a settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) stemming from a tweet that US authorities alleged had misled investors.

Musk had to step aside as chairman for three years and was also fined, but was able to remain Tesla's CEO.

Telstra CEO Andy Penn said the telco was "sorry to see Robyn leave".

He said Telstra is "undertaking a search for a new chief financial officer" and would provide an update on her replacement "as soon as possible".

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