James Murdoch is the top candidate to replace Elon Musk as Tesla's chairman

Greg Sandoval/Business InsiderJames Murdoch, the CEO of 21st Century Fox and son of the media mogul Rupert Murdoch, could be Tesla’s next chairman.

James Murdoch is the top choice to replace Elon Musk as Tesla’s chairman, according to a report from the Financial Times, which cited two people familiar with the matter.

Musk, who will remain CEO of the company, agreed to step down as chairman of Tesla’s board for three years as part of a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which brought charges against Musk in late August for his now-infamous “funding secured” tweet. Musk was fined $US20 million and Tesla must appoint two more independent board members as part of the settlement. Musk was given 45 days to step down as chairman.

There had already been speculation that Murdoch, who has served on Tesla’s board as a nonexecutive director since last year,was the leading contender for the chairman position. But Murdoch, the CEO of 21st Century Fox and the son of the media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has also faced blowback from shareholders in the past, with critics citing his lack of relevant experience.

Earlier this year, the proxy advisor Glass Lewis and the pension fund CtW Investment Group pushed for shareholders not to reelect Murdoch to the board. CtW also asked for shareholders to vote against reelecting Antonio Gracias, a private-equity investor, and Kimbal Musk, Musk’s cousin.

Others who have been floated as possible chairman candidates include Al Gore, Warren Buffett, and Alan Mulally.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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