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Elon Musk refutes claims that James Murdoch is lead candidate for Tesla chairmanship

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Post his spat with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Elon Musk ended up paying tens of millions of dollars in fine. From our limited knowledge of the man however, what would have rankled more than the financial hit, was the SEC’s condition that Musk step down as Tesla board’s chairman, find a replacement within 45 days, and add two independent members to the said board.

The market is rife with speculations about who will replace Musk as the new chairman of the Tesla board. Whoever it is, will find himself (or herself) in a position where they may just be called upon to act as a counterweight to Musk’s excesses. At least that’s how I find myself reading the SEC insistence for a new chairman of the Tesla board.

Financial Times gave fresh fodder to these speculations on Wednesday, when it published an article stating that Twenty-First Century Fox CEO and Tesla board member James Murdoch was leading the race, towards the chairmanship.

In a tweet, Elon Musk has debunked this article as false. It was an extremely short tweet and did not give away any details, merely stating that the FT article about Murdoch being a front runner was “incorrect”. Of course, that does not mean that Murdoch is out of the race altogether, merely that he is not a Musk favorite. There is another set of rumors, according to which Musk has been favoring Antonio Gracias, Tesla’s lead independent director, as a prospective chairman for the board.

Other than Murdoch and Gracias, the Tesla board consists of: Linda Johnson Rice, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Johnson Publishing Company; Brad W. Buss, who retired as the Chief Financial Officer of SolarCity Corporation in February 2016; Robyn M. Denholm, Chief Operations Officer of Telstra Corporation Limited; Ira Ehrenpreis, long-time General Partner with Technology Partners; Steve Jurvetson, managing director of Draper Fisher Jurvetso; and Kimble Musk, younger brother of Elon, and Co-Founder of The Kitchen.