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William Maley

Rumorpile: James Murdoch *Could* Become Tesla's Next Chairman

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Tesla finds itself without a chairman of the board as Elon Musk has stepped down due to a settlement with Securities and Exchange Commission. A possible replacement for Musk could be James Murdoch, chief executive of 21st Century Fox and a member of Tesla's board according to a report from the Financial Times.

The SEC is wanting the next chairperson to be independent and not beholden to Musk. Murdoch is the closest thing as he has more financial independence than another candidate, Antonio Gracias. The FT report says Gracias' venture capital firm, Valor Equity Partners was an early investor into Tesla, though it had sold its shares when Tesla had its IPO. Gracias is also a stakeholder in Musk's SpaceX, which clouds his independence. 

That isn't to say Murdoch's independence is clear either as he is friends with Musk, and has sided with him on a number of decisions.

Sources tell the FT that Tesla is also looking outside of the company for a possible replacement.

Tesla didn't respond for comment, but Elon Musk took to Twitter last night to respond.

"This is incorrect," he wrote.

Source: Financial Times (Subscription Required), Bloomberg


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Ignore Musk, he is already trying to plant the seeds of distrust that anyone other than him could do the job. Murdoch while friends could also push to reign in Musk and his crazy side projects to focus on running a profitable company.

No matter what, I suspect it will be a fight to get a new Chairmen in place before the end of the year.

I suspect Musk would rather the board be leaderless while he is CEO than to have someone that try's to control him or will replace him.

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