Tesla chair prepares to sell up to $50 million in stock

Entertainment

Tesla’s chairwoman, Robyn Denholm, has signed a new contract with the company to prepare to sell up to $50 million worth of TSLA stock.

Denholm an Australian businesswoman who has long been the head of Tesla’s board of directors.

She came to the role after CEO Elon Musk was forced to step down from the chair as a punishment for his “take private” tweet that was deemed misleading by the SEC.

Many see her only as a figure head for the board, which is broadly believed to still be in Musk’s control for the most part. Musk’s brother Kimbal, as well as longtime friends Ira Ehrenpreis, James Murdoch, and JB Straubel, are all also on the board.

The board rarely gets involved publicly in Tesla affairs and has been known to have a “laissez faire” attitude toward Musk – even in his most controversial moments.

Despite this “laissez faire” attitude, she has been well compensated for her role at Tesla.

In 2022, she was awarded over 600,000 shares (pre reverse-split) worth over $85 million at the time. Tesla shareholders sued the company last year over what they believed to be over compensation of the board, which ended up settling and agreeing to return about $735 million in shares and cash.

Now the chairwoman appears to want to sell some of those shares that she managed to keep.

In a new SEC filing today, Tesla disclosed that Denholm has signed a new agreement late last year to sell up to 281,116 of her Tesla shares:

On October 23, 2023, Robyn Denholm, one of our directors, adopted a Rule 10b5-1 trading arrangement for the potential sale of up to 281,116 shares of our common stock, subject to certain conditions. The trading arrangement covers stock options that expire in August 2024. The arrangement’s expiration date is August 16, 2024.

As of today, that’s worth over $50 million.

Tesla also disclosed that Drew Baglino, its SVP of engineering, also has a new agreement under which he can sell up to 115,500 shares.

The new disclosure comes amid talks of CEO Elon Musk’s own next compensation plan, which the CEO wants to be enough for him to get 25% control over Tesla’s shares.

Electrek’s Take

I’m not a fan of Tesla’s board. Whether you are a fan of Elon or not, you have to admit that if a CEO started to act like that at any other major companies, the board would have gotten involved.

It’s only because it’s Tesla and Elon that the board is staying silent.

I am willing to hear other opinions and see some proof of the contrary if it’s out there, but to me, it looks like Denholm is happy not making any wave and cashing her tens of millions worth of Tesla shares every year.

Elon himself has previously described the role of chairman of the board as “honorific” and “not needed” to run Tesla.

But now, he doesn’t seem to mind for them to receive tens of millions of dollars worth of Tesla shares as long as they don’t actually do their work, which is governance and oversight of the management: him.

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