Date
14 December 2018
James Murdoch, who is a non-executive director of Tesla, is said to be the frontrunner to take over as the electric carmaker’s chairman. Photo: Bloomberg
James Murdoch, who is a non-executive director of Tesla, is said to be the frontrunner to take over as the electric carmaker’s chairman. Photo: Bloomberg

James Murdoch in line to replace Musk as Tesla chairman: FT

Outgoing Twenty-First Century Fox Inc Chief Executive James Murdoch is the lead candidate to replace Elon Musk as Tesla Inc chairman, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing two people briefed on the discussions.

But in a tweeted reply to the newspaper, Musk said: “This is incorrect.” 

Tesla has until Nov. 13 to appoint an independent chairman of the board, part of settlements reached last month between Tesla, Musk and US regulators in the wake of Musk tweeting in August that he had secured funding to take the company private.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission, which said the statement was fraudulent, allowed the billionaire to retain his role as CEO while stripping him of his chairmanship and imposing a penalty of US$20 million on each party.

Murdoch, who is a non-executive director of Tesla, has signaled he wants the job, the report said.

The son of Fox mogul Rupert Murdoch, he joined Tesla’s board in July 2017 after years of work with media companies. He has no experience in manufacturing and has never led a company that makes cars or electric vehicles.

Murdoch could not immediately be reached for comment. Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Twenty-First Century Fox declined to comment.

Earlier this year, leading US proxy advisers Glass Lewis & Co and Institutional Shareholder Services, and union-affiliated investment adviser CtW Investment Group, had recommended investors cast votes “against” James Murdoch as a Tesla director at the company’s annual meeting held on June 5.

While the latter cited a lack of relevant experience and a “troubled history as an executive and director,” both proxy firms warned that Murdoch already served on too many boards.

Murdoch currently serves on the boards of Twenty-First Century Fox and News Corp. He stepped down from the board of Sky Plc on Tuesday following the completion of Comcast Corp’s takeover of the broadcaster. (Reuters)

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