Musk denies report James Murdoch poised to be Tesla chairperson

Tesla chief executive officer Elon Musk denied a report in the Financial Times that James Murdoch was poised to replace him as chairperson, prolonging the uncertainty over leadership at the electric-car maker after a deal with the US securities regulator.

Murdoch, the CEO of Twenty-First Century Fox and a Tesla board member, is the lead candidate for the job, the Financial Times said, citing two people briefed on the discussions.

The newspaper is wrong, Musk tweeted in response, without elaborating.

Musk must relinquish his role as chairperson under a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over his tweeting, which left open the possibility that the carmaker could appoint an existing independent director.

Tesla and the SEC are nearing a Thursday deadline to file a joint letter to explain why US District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan should approve their deal.

The settlement with the SEC was reached two days after the regulator sued the billionaire over tweeted claims he had the funding and investor support to buy out stockholders at $420 a share.

Musk got to keep his job as CEO and stay on the board, but has to relinquish the post of chairperson and can’t be re-elected to the role for three years. Musk and Tesla were also each fined $20m.

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