James Murdoch favorite to replace Elon Musk as Tesla chairman

James Murdoch favorite to replace Elon Musk as Tesla chairman

James Murdoch, who is in the final stages of detaching from 21st Century Fox before most of it is formally acquired by Disney, has emerged as the favorite to replace Elon Musk as chairman of Tesla, the Financial Times has reported.

The challenge with finding a replacement chairperson for Tesla's board of directors is that the SEC insists that the chair be independent and not beholden to Musk. Thanks to his vision and audacious showmanship, Tesla's valuation has at times eclipsed that of traditional, established US automakers with billions in revenues and the company has garnered legions of fans, despite repeated production issues.

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. Twenty-First Century Fox declined to comment.

Tesla, Murdoch and 21st Century Fox haven't provided comment on the matter. He is now on the boards of Twenty-First Century Fox and News Corp. According to Variety, Murdoch is also mulling the possibility of setting up a technology investment fund, which would presumably dovetail nicely with a Tesla chairmanship.

In 2012 he was forced out as chairman of Sky, previously BSkyB, after the infamous phone-hacking scandal.

Mr Musk, chairman and chief executive of Tesla, is to drop the former role as part of a settlement he has agreed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

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"I would still have reservations about the time he would be able to allot to this", Keatinge said.

The proposed deal - paying a combined $40 million to resolve claims that Musk misled the public by tweeting about his plan to take Tesla private - includes "significant" penalties and changes at the company that are in the best interest of investors, the parties said in a joint filing Thursday. Also, as a caveat to the news about James, it should be pointed out that the FT's report today says external candidates are still being looked at.

In a vote of confidence for Musk, shareholder T. Rowe Price Group Inc said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday that it had raised its stake by almost half to 10.2 per cent at the end of September from just under 7 per cent in June.

Tesla is under scrutiny for failing to produce its Model 3 sedan quickly enough and in sufficient volume to meet customer demand. Additionally, he's relinquishing his chairmanship of Tesla, where he'll sit out for three years, but remain CEO. The terms of that agreement included Tesla appointing a new independent chairman by the middle of November.

Shares of Tesla on Wednesday afternoon pared losses to trade down 1.6% at $258.50.

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