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The “rational” business woman picked up the mood Teslas mercurial Musk

When he chose Robyn Denholm to keep Elon Musk in control, Tesla Inc.'s board went with a number-first executive who…

When he chose Robyn Denholm to keep Elon Musk in control, Tesla Inc.’s board went with a number-first executive who climbed instead of multinational finance departments. Those who know her say her nonsense methods can be exactly what Tesla needs.

“Everything about her is rational, reasonable and hot. I’m not surprised she got the job,” said Scott McNealy, co-founder and former chairman of Sun Microsystems, in a telephone interview. “If Elon is listening to her, he will be more successful. “

As Tesla’s chairman, Denholm, 55, will be responsible for holding back celebrity CEO Musk under the leadership of an electric car manufacturer still in a volume expansion phase and exposed to economic recovery. While Tesla only celebrated a blowout quarterly &#821

1; with a rare profit – many analysts expect that additional capital increases are needed before the company is established.

Denholm began his career in auditing and accounting services at Arthur Andersen and left the company for a position in the finance department of Toyota’s Australian subsidiary. included in the Sun 1996 and was there for 11 years, including a position in the groundbreaking computer company le dande management group. She refused to be interviewed.

Musk, 47, is a classical Silicon Valley founder, an eccentric visionary who is highly focused on products. The chairmen who supervise them have often been the CEO themselves or led companies in other strategic roles. A chairman with a financial background is not as common – but in Tesla’s case it can actually be a strength: The report with the financial industry is exactly what the car manufacturer tries to improve.

“She seems to be supercompetent in financial economics communication,” said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, an expert on leadership teaching at Yale School of Management. “Of the likely choices, I think they made the best choice. Her strengths are not his and vice versa.”

Still, we see that Denholm is too close to Musk. An independent Tesla director since 2014 was her part of a board that failed to prevent CEO’s unequal actions this year, including his problematic August tweets to try to take the company privately. A deal with the US Securities and Exchange Commission stated that Tesla would strengthen a board that was long criticized for being too close to its billionaire leader.

Denholm “gives a potential spark for change,” said Loup Ventures Gene Munster in a note. But Tesla has to accompany other actions, including turning over half of the board to get board members with manufacturing experience, he said.

After Sun worked at Denholm at the network equipment manufacturer Juniper Networks, where she was President and Chief Financial Officer and Operator. Her technical background is an asset: Teslas cars are constantly gaining new features through software updates over the air, and the company’s batteries are increasingly sold to utility companies. the board of ABB Ltd., the Swedish-Swiss multinational who works close to tools.

“Robyn is very smart, tough and ethical,” said William F. Meehan, a senior management lecturer at Stanford Graduate School of Business, who was director for Juniper while she worked there.

Denholm started in January 2017 Telstra, Australia’s largest telephone company, as chief executive officer and took the role of CFO on October 1. Her decision to go down from the CFO role so quickly surprised many; Just last month, she told Australian media through a spokesman that she was not in violation of the Tesla chairman’s job. Denholm, who is married and has grown children, lives in Sydney, and it is not clear if she is going to move back to California for the presidency.

“Robyn is worried but very practical. If she believes in something she’s struggling for – she’s not a pushover,” says Joe Pollard, Telstra’s leading marketing manager. “She’s always focused on” how are we fix the problem. “Nothing has ever left invisible and she will always speak for customers, companies and employees.”

As Silicon Valley, business in Australia has a long way to go in terms of gender equality, and Denholm is passionate about getting more women to science, technology and technology, and set up a scholarship in her name at the University of New South Wales.

“She is not part of the culture of the brothers, and yet is not a naive parachute from the outside,” said Yales Sonnenfeld. “It’s a rare ray of good government news.”

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