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Tesla has appointed Robyn Denholm as chair of its board, replacing the electric carmaker's billionaire founder Elon Musk.

Tesla released a statement a short time ago saying that Denholm had handed in her notice at Telstra and would take on the full-time chair role "effectively immediately".

Prior to her appointment, she has served as an independent board director prior to since 2014, Tesla added. "I believe in this company, I believe in its mission and I look forward to helping Elon and the Tesla team achieve sustainable profitability and drive long-term shareholder value", Robyn said in a statement.

Michael Cusumano, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management, further notes that Ms Denholm's track record as a Tesla board member is not necessarily an indication of how she'll be as a chair. Since January 2017, she has also been chief financial officer of Australian telecoms firm Telstra.

Musk stepped down as Tesla chair in late September as part of a settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) stemming from a tweet that US authorities alleged had misled investors.

This announcement counters the rumors reported earlier by The New York Times and The Financial Times that Tesla non-executive director and Murdoch media-empire scion James Murdoch was the lead candidate for the chairman role.

Musk resigned as Tesla chairman in October under an arrangement with United States regulators to settle fraud charges stemming from a tweet in which he said he planned to take the company private and had financing to do it.

That drove up Tesla's stock price and hurt short-sellers, investors who bet against the company's success. Musk, still the firm's largest shareholder, stays on as CEO and keeps a board seat.

Tesla earned a $311.5 million net profit during the third-quarter, delivering the first step of a promise from Musk to post sustainable profits. The mid-priced Tesla Model 3 was the fifth bestselling passenger vehicle in America, according to the industry analyst Edmunds.

Days after settling with the SEC over the now famous tweet, Musk turned around and mocked the agency, in another tweet.

Board directors are reportedly planning to create a permanent committee with the sole objective being to ensure the implementation of the terms of the SEC settlement.