James Murdoch Rumoured to be Elon Musk’s Replacement as Tesla Chairman
James Murdoch, the son of legendary media mogul Rupert, is set to become the chairman of Tesla’s board of directors, after Elon Musk agreed to step down from the role as a part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission late last month, which also saw him paying a fine of US$20 million but remaining as the CEO of Tesla.
Read about it: Elon Musk to Step Down as Tesla’s Chairman and Pay US$20 Million Fine…All Because of a Tweet.
Murdoch is currently the CEO of 21st Century Fox but this is in the process of being acquired by the Disney organisation, and when the deal is completed, he will step down in favour of his younger brother, Lachlan, leaving him free to pursue other interests. It is rumoured that he is currently looking to set up a technology investment fund, and of course, sitting in the top job of Tesla with Elon Musk next to him would give him access to some pretty sweet deals.
Murdoch is already a board member of Tesla and has made no secret about coveting the Chairman’s role, but in a tweet soon after the reports were first published, Musk simply said:
It is believed that Musk favours Antonio Gracias, although it is doubtful that he is independent enough, a key criterion for the role of Chairman in the US of A. For his part, Murdoch has refused to be drawn in on the issue and refers all questions to Tesla, which also declined to comment apparently.
Murdoch is known to be a fan of Musk’s vision for the company and was himself brought into the company by Elon (along with another appointee) to strengthen the board of directors that had been accused of acquiescing to Musk’s demands too easily. It could easily be argued that Murdoch has failed miserably at this task after the various pot-holes that Musk has so adeptly steered Tesla into over the past twelve months. In fact, he was one of the Tesla directors who gave Musk an almost floral tribute over the SEC affair.
Whoever gets the role has some serious work to do. Share prices are down by 17% on the year, production goals have been missed for all of their models and the competition in the luxury end of the electric car market is becoming fiercer by the day.