Elon Musk was swift to deny a report from Financial Times saying that James Murdoch is first in line to replace him as Tesla Chairman.
Musk replied to the newspaper’s tweet, saying that “This is incorrect”. Tesla must appoint an independent chairman until November 13, as part of the settlement reached with U.S. regulators.
FT’s report said that James Murdoch, a non-executive director in Tesla, was the lead candidate for the role, citing two people with knowledge of the discussions. Another source told them that people outside Tesla were still being considered.
Musk is said to favor Antonio Gracias, Tesla’s lead independent director. However, Musk has been advised that Gracias may not be sufficiently independent due to his involvement with Musk’s companies. Valor Equity Partners, which is Gracias’ firm, had invested in Tesla in 2005 but sold its shares in the company’s IPO in 2010. Gracias has invested in SpaceX as well.
James Murdoch will step down from his position as chief executive of 21st Century Fox when the company completes the sale of its assets to Disney and people familiar with the discussions say that he wants the job at Tesla.
Murdoch joined Tesla’s board last year as one of the two new independent directors that were brought in in a bid to make the board stronger and not so submissive to Musk’s wishes.
Musk has until November 13 to find a replacement, according to his settlement with the SEC. The agreement, however, states that the deadline could be extended at the request of Musk.
This is incorrect
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 10, 2018