Tesla Chairman Robyn Denholm is speaking out in support of CEO Elon Musk and his polarizing Twitter use. In a rare interview, the new chair of Tesla’s board of directors defended Musk, stating that from her point of view, the CEO’s behavior on Twitter has been satisfactory.
“Twitter is part of everyday business for many executives today. From my perspective, he uses it wisely,” she said.
Denholm’s comments about the Tesla CEO followed a speech at the American Chamber of Commerce in Sydney, Australia on Wednesday. Addressing the ongoing issue between Elon Musk and the Securities and Exchange Commission, Denholm noted that she believes Tesla has been doing its best to comply with the terms of last year’s settlement with the agency.
“We believe we’ve done everything that we need to do under the settlement, but obviously it’s going to the court and it will go from there. I don’t think he poses any challenges. The company is running very well, and the board itself is very engaged. We meet with him all the time,” she added.
The new Tesla chair was appointed by the company last November following Elon Musk and the SEC’s settlement over the CEO’s now-infamous “funding secured” tweet, which resulted in a short-lived attempt to take the company private. As part of the agreement, Musk agreed to relinquish his position as chairman of Tesla’s board of directors.
Denholm, a member of the company’s board since 2014, was selected as Musk’s replacement, though she has largely remained under the radar until her recent comments. Denholm is still serving as the chief financial officer of Australian telecom firm Telstra, a position she is set to relinquish on May 6. She is expected serve as Tesla’s Chairman on a full-time basis after.
Denholm’s words of support for Elon Musk comes amidst the CEO and the SEC’s ongoing skirmish. The SEC has argued that Musk must be held in contempt over a tweet posted last February 19 which stated that Tesla would make “around 500k cars” this year. The figure echoed Musk’s statements from the Q4 2018 earnings call last January, but the CEO nonetheless explained in a follow-up tweet that the 500k estimate would be true for Tesla’s annualized run rate.
The SEC has claimed that the Twitter post violates Musk’s settlement last September, which demanded that tweets with material information to Tesla shareholders must go through a review process before they are posted. Musk’s legal team countered that the CEO’s estimates in the February 19 tweet are not material information at all, since the estimated figures have been made public since the fourth quarter earnings call.