It sounds like a return home. Robyn Denholm, appointed on Thursday, head of Tesla's Board of Trustees, grew up at a gas station owned by his parents at Milperra, a small suburb of the 4,000 Australian residents located about 20 kilometers southwest of Sydney.
In the small family business, it had a specific role: keeping accounts. An early acquaintance with the numbers and calculations that led to a degree in economics, acquired at the University of New South Wales, at the age of 22.
Three years later, Robyn Denholm graduated with a degree in Trade and Industrial Relations from the University of Sydney. At the same time, the new Australian performs missions as an auditor at Andersen, a company specialized in corporate finance and consulting.
On 26, Robyn Denholm performed his first job at Toyota in the finance department, where he could reconcile the two specialties: bills and car. Having enough positions of responsibility, he leaves the Japanese manufacturer after seven years. He will return to industry only 22 years later, in Tesla.
"Robyn has a solid experience in the technology and automotive industries," commented Elon Musk, who is pleased with the career of his new team. This is ten years of career in the Sun Microsystems software company, six in the Juniper Networks telecommunications equipment company and one and a half years in the Australian Telstra telecoms company.
Still in leading positions, Robyn Denholm seems to have the ideal profile for decision-making roles. It was a "driving force" in the restructuring of Juniper Networks, which led to record gains in 2015, said Andrew Penn, director of Telstra at the time of his recruitment.
Estimated by Elon Musk
This excellent command of the management must be an indisputable advantage in its new mission: to channel Elon Musk. And be able, if necessary, to give him the direction to follow, provided he previously had the agreement and support of the other eight council members.
"I believe that compelling Elon to work with a foreigner would be very difficult for obvious reasons," said Ross Gerber, head of Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management, who owns Tesla's shares. But Robyn Denholm has been known for four years. On the other hand, "it respects and is very important," said Ross Gerber.
Although she is valued by her partner, she is not one of her relatives. "He has much less to do with Elon Musk than other company directors," the US daily said. Which strives for a certain independence of spirit and action.
"A good choice"
However, the announcement of his appointment was astonishing. Several analysts had, however, bet on James Murdoch, son of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch and Tesla's manager, best known to the general public.
However, Robyn Denholm has a strong reputation among her classmates. California National Diversity has made one of the 50 most powerful women in technology. And she completed the ranking of "women to watch" by Global Telecoms Business magazine in 2017.
"Among today's directors, it's a good choice," said Dieter Waizenegger, head of the CtW Investment Group, who represents Tesla's solidarity and retirement funds. For Robyn Denholm, his mission is simple: "help Elon" and allow Tesla to achieve "sustainable profitability."
From a petrol station in Tesla, its goal remains the same: to ensure proper account maintenance.