James Murdoch, the outgoing CEO of 21st Century Fox, is the leading candidate to replace Elon Musk as chairman of Tesla, reports the Financial Times.
Mr. Musk, Tesla’s CEO, agreed to relinquish the chairman role—which varies in importance depending on the company—as part of a fraud settlement with U.S. securities regulators for his infamous tweet about securing funding to take Tesla private. Mr. Murdoch joined the Tesla board a year ago after some investors clamored for more independent directors. The board consists of nine members, three of whom were early investors in Tesla and/or Mr. Musk’s other company, SpaceX. Another member is Mr. Musk’s brother Kimbal.
Given the board directors’ close ties to Mr. Musk and a recent report about the board’s initial failure to convince him to strike a settlement with regulators, it seems Mr. Musk, who is the biggest shareholder in the company, wields near-absolute power. It is difficult to imagine Mr. Murdoch becoming chairman will change things.