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Robyn M. Denholm (born 1962/1963) is an Australian business executive. She succeeded Elon Musk as chairman of Tesla, Inc. in November 2018.

Robyn Denholm
Robyn M. Denholm

1962/1963 (age 55–56)[1]
Milperra, New South Wales, Australia
TitleChairman, Tesla, Inc.
TermNovember 2018‒
PredecessorElon Musk
Board member ofTesla, Inc.


Early lifeEdit

Denholm was born and raised in Milperra, New South Wales, where her parents owned a service station.[2] Working at her parents’ service station, Denholm handled the financial accounts, repaired cars, pumped petrol and became interested in cars.[3]

Denholm received a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Sydney, and a master's degree in commerce from the University of New South Wales in 1999.[4][3] She is a member of Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and New Zealand.[5]


After graduating, Denholm worked in accountancy for Arthur Andersen in Sydney.[3] This was followed by seven years at Toyota Australia.[1][4][3] Denholm worked at the IT companies Sun Microsystems,[1][4] and then Juniper Networks for nine years in finance and operations roles, rising to chief financial officer of Juniper.[3][1][4] In 2014, Denholm became a non-executive director of Tesla, Inc..[1] In the following four years as a non-executive director of Tesla, including as chair of the audit committee, Denholm received $17 million in Tesla stock options.[3]

In early-2017, Denholm was appointed as chief operations officer (COO) of Telstra, Australia's largest telecoms company.[6]

In November 2018 Denholm became chairman of Tesla, with a plan to transition to full-time following six months working out her notice period for as chief financial officer (CFO) and head of strategy at Telstra.[1]


According to the Financial Times, she "seems an unlikely choice to take on one of the toughest jobs in corporate America: taming the mercurial Elon Musk", and has been criticised for being a member for four years of a board of directors that has "done little to restrain Mr Musk".[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Kollewe, Julia (8 November 2018). "Tesla names new chair to replace Elon Musk". the Guardian.
  2. ^ Lewis, Michelle. "Telstra appoints new Chief Operations Officer. Who is Robyn Denholm?". Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Waters, Richard; Smyth, Jamie (9 November 2018). "Low-key Robyn Denholm takes on challenge of taming Elon Musk". Financial Times. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d "Tesla picks telco executive Robyn Denholm to replace Elon Musk as chairman". Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  5. ^ ABB. "Director CV". Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  6. ^ Berndtson, Odgers. "CFO one-on-one interview with Robyn Denholm". Retrieved 8 November 2018.