Last fall, the Securities and Exchange Commission forced Elon Musk to give up his role as the chairman of Tesla’s board. The agency hoped the move would give Tesla’s board a measure of independence, allowing it to conduct more vigorous oversight over Tesla’s CEO.
But the woman who got the job, Robyn Denholm, doesn’t see a need for Musk to change how he tweets—or any other aspects of his unconventional management style.
“I don’t think he poses any challenges,” Denholm said to Bloomberg in Sydney on Wednesday. “The company is running very well and the board itself is very engaged. We meet with him all the time.”
Musk is currently fending off a request from the Securities and Exchange Commission to hold Musk in contempt for tweeting a production forecast without sign-off from Tesla’s lawyers—an alleged breach of Musk’s September settlement with the SEC. You might expect Tesla’s board to press Musk to change how he uses Twitter to avoid these kinds of legal headaches in the future. But Denholm isn’t concerned.
“Twitter is part of everyday business for many executives today,” Denholm said. “From my perspective, he uses it wisely.”
Denholm’s indulgent posture toward Musk shouldn’t be too surprising; Denholm had been a member of Tesla’s board for several years prior to her elevation to chairwoman. That means she had been on Tesla’s board during a series of bizarre Elon Musk Twitter episodes—like the time Musk joked about Tesla going bankrupt and the time he baselessly accused a Thai cave explorer of being a pedophile.
Denholm argued that Musk and Tesla had done nothing wrong under its settlement with the SEC.
“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,” Denholm said.
Judge Alison Nathan, who is overseeing Musk’s fight with the SEC, will hear oral arguments on the SEC’s contempt request on April 4 in New York.