James Murdoch favoured as new Tesla chairman to replace Elon Musk

James Murdoch favoured as new Tesla chairman to replace Elon Musk
James Murdoch in 2008. Photo by NRKbeta via Wikimedia Commons

James Murdoch, son of global media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, is now the leading candidate to replace Elon Musk as chairman of Tesla.

The news comes after Musk agreed that he would relinquish his position as chairman but continue on as CEO after reaching a $20m settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a US financial regulatory agency.

Early in August, Musk made a claim that he had the funding in order to make Tesla a private company, a move which briefly upset global markets. The SEC filed a suit against Musk saying that his plan to go private had no factual basis and as part of the $20m settlement he agreed to step down as Tesla’s chairman.

His stepping down from the chairman position is also rumoured to be associated with concerns for his health due the high stress nature of his job. He also smoked marijuana on a live internet podcast which circulated speculation about potential drug abuse.

While James Murdoch is the current CEO of 21st Century Fox, he will step down from the position after most of its assets are sold to Disney. He joined the board of Tesla in 2017 acting as a non-executive but has since expressed his desire for the chairman role.

Tesla has not yet made a final choice as to who the next chairman will be and there is speculation they may still opt to hire someone externally.