Full interview with Tesla Chairman Robyn Denholm

Full interview with Tesla Chairman Robyn Denholm Tesla Cybertruck breaks the mold robyn denholm net worth robyn denholm email robyn denholm tesla linkedin robyn denholm twitter tesla stock zach kirkhorn tsla kimbal musk

Full interview with Tesla Chairman Robyn Denholm

Tesla Cybertruck breaks the mold


We are here at the Baron investment conference in New York City with Ron Baron and we've been meeting with many of the companies that Ron's been a big investor in right now it's time for our exclusive interview with Robin demo she is Tesla's chairman Baron of courses here - and Baron's been investor in Tesla and a big backer of this company for four five years five years at this point probably want to thank you very much for being with us it's a pleasure to have you here thank you this is the first time that CNBC is sitting down with you and we're almost at a year from the time when you were tapped to come in and be the chairman at Tesla that's right yeah obviously that was a very interesting time Elon is the biggest shareholder in the company he agreed to have a separation of the CEO and chairman roles because there was so much pressure coming from the SEC and from I guess from investors as well at the time people said that you were going to be the adult in the room obviously that's a little insulting to

Elon to think of it like that but why don't you tell us a little bit about your relationship with you on how the two of you work together and what's happened over the course of the last year well Becky I've been on the board for five years before it's at this point in time and so we formed a good working relationship and and actually I think it's it's a good way to be in that environment both from the Tesla perspective but also with working with with them as well so you knew him for a long time beforehand how did your relationship change or just the way you work together change as you took on the role of chairman yeah I mean obviously we have our regular board meetings but but we also have conversations in between and so they're they they're relatively regular but you know sometimes there are more than others and you know it's a it's a good working relationship you are somebody who's got an incredibly impressive back both in technology and in automaton companies as well you worked at Toyota most recently before you took this job you were the chief operating officer at

Telstra we've got a very good working knowledge base somebody who has looked over so many different issues and it had so much experience what types of conversations do you have within you on what types of things do you talk about yeah I mean my background in terms of both operational and financial roles and I was exact between the two irrespective of which company and I've always been very focused on making sure that we're driving long-term shareholder value for the company and so as a board member I take that responsibility very seriously and as do the rest of my peers and you know in terms of conversation they can be very varied they could be you know things that are going on in the company you know whether it's from an employee perspective or future plans in terms of different things different operational issues or financial issues the team's very focused and very accomplished that during many things and as you can see from the results yesterday they're they're doing very well so a line is totally focused laser focus on cost of operations and what he does am i know my observation he listens so when you say something to him it makes sense he listens in fact he has his teams of young people throughout the organization telling him possibly

Yvonne Jerome for example will have regular meetings with his staff and say what can we do better and then he says it'll be to come up with an idea they show it to you not and then it doesn't and so presumably he listens to you as well or and listens to Larry Ellison as well for ideas and yeah I think a great background in many different industries two runs point and I think you know I think the testament is any CEO who actually can continue to grow a company the way everyone has with Tesla is going to listen to all points of view that are going to help the company move forward and I think that's very true in this case I do think the team is fantastic it's the best executive team that I've seen in the many years that I've been there and plus they may be young in age they're absolutely experienced both in terms of the way Tesla works but in terms of the areas that they're focused on and I think that as I said the results yesterday showed that it's a point in time and obviously we're here for the long term but I think that they're just incrementally continuing to do better and setting ambitious targets and actually achieving those is

I'll ask both of you this question are you glad that he's not tweeting as much I think you know he is a very disciplined individual and you know I think that the way he runs that that company is is phenomenal so in all aspects when you talk about this thing and one of the directors had told me a year ago that he had come up with a chart and the chart was immediate on tweeted what the stock be done and we hadn't tweeted what they saw the gun it outperformed when he was a twin yes and to basically know about this subject this director did and so talking about listening so in this system and in this instance other Gregory listened to everyone and that's helped him they're able to be as agile they have forty two thousand employees 42,000 this is not reliant upon one man but he has empowered people to be able to make decisions and to be able to do its best for your company and the people that figure out how they can perform reduced quality at a lower cost he says do it like if you don't have to go through chain to come in they were telling me about they were trying to make batteries for other people and they said they said it was terrible dealer in

Toyota I guess it was there Tesla was doing things for them and they would say okay so we need a battery that can have zero fault tolerance hero if you can have five percent or two percent we could do it in half cost and telling Toyota and no no this is what we have to do we have so which it was stratified whereas our company Tesla what they do is they're able to act quickly and that's a big big deal when you're trying to grow the way you are in a highly regulated business to produce a high quality product it can kill people Andrews got a question here too and Robin if you just look at this camera when he answers it and we go ahead hey Robin and thank you for that Becky you know you chair the company obviously but you're also chaired the Audit Committee and I just wanted you to speak if you could to some of the critics around the accounting at the company and one of the questions that came up particularly this quarter was this idea of that the company had a big profit swing as you know five hundred fifty million dollars sequentially but it did so on declining revenue does that happen and is that a repeatable event well as we've talked about that company is very focused on growth and very focused on cost reduction at the same time and it's very unusual to find a company that's focused on voice at the same time and

Tesla is focused on that and so in terms of the tearing of the audit committee I have been the chair of the Audit Committee since I joined the board in in 14 and I'm very happy with the way the company handles all of its fiduciary responsibilities and its accounting so I would also add that the price then testing received for their average par in the last quarter was $13,000 less then it had been the quarter before and they made $2,000 less in profits than they did so therefore they're really focused on costs that they're able to achieve and in fact right now prices on their cars are actually going up so every time someone else offers a new competitive part tests the sales increase which I an was it so when they take in so went I can was introduced Porsche I'm sure it's going to be a lovely car but when it's been introduced Tesla's orders increased fairly significantly and the prices in tested cars are going up and they're getting people worried about the excess they had some old inventory would say in second penalize profitability lower cost but now what's happening is that they're actually charging higher prices for the s and the

X than it has been before so prices going up and products demand is going up across the board and they're just and whenever they're not showing product in European markets sales are going through the roof Tim talked about the revenue declined as a result of also the least in proportion so if you go back a year ago the policing proportions that we had or cars that are put in place particularly the model 3 is a very very low percentage and we've been increasing that over time as well even you spent a lot of time of your life in Asia I wanted to just ask about China the factory in China the Tesla is putting together who owns that Factory and what's the relationship with the Chinese government so Tesla factory and the reason why the companies built that Factory is we see a huge opportunity for bars in in China it is the largest market today for mid-sized premium vehicles both in terms of sedans and SUVs as we bring that factory on line and you heard on the earnings Paul that actually we're entire production today only ten months after we broke ground and that site which is a phenomenal achievement we plan to produce vehicles in in

China for the Chinese market and take advantage of that opportunity that we see in the growth there Robin just in terms of the ramp up there we did have an analyst on yesterday who said yeah it looks pretty promising what you're doing in China but that in the past some of what Tesla's done has been to ramp up and bring a lot of employees and get things up and then maybe scale back as you see what demand actually should have to be he pointed out that that's not the way it works in China that if you are working with Chinese companies with Chinese employees you don't have that flexibility what do you say to that and what does that lead you to believe just in terms of profitability or how you're able to be flexible in that market yeah I think what I would say is all of the learnings that we've had in terms of ramping the company both with model 3 and the and S have been applied to China and so the team on the ground whether it's on the tooling side whether it's on the workforce side or even just how we interact with our suppliers have all been put into place as we're building the

China Factory and so the tems done a phenomenal job run mentioned around beforehand and the local team in China of being working hand in glove to make sure that we take advantage of all of the things that we've learnt over the last three weeks we're talking about scaling back this person just making sure you have enough employees to get off the ground and then maybe changing the size of the employment but their first operation which is just opening yeah we built to build three thousand courts a week that's 150,000 per se year on this conference call yesterday or the day before Ilan said they were going to triple that amount so basically instead of only three thousand quarts a week they're on their way to 10,000 parts a week or more in China let me just ask you about a couple of those things Robin because I said earlier that sometimes Ilan over promises and under delivers Ron corrected me and said no he over promises and then delivers just a little later than you thought you were going to get it let me ask you about a couple of those numbers the delivery goal between 360,000 and 400,000 vehicles is that that's the full-year vehicle forecast you think that that's an achievable goal yes sir so the way

I think about it is to achieve what Tesla has achieved over the over the last five years over the last ten years you have to set audacious goals and big goals to actually and then have everybody in the company work like crazy to get there and again if I if I look back over the last five years nobody had predicted that Tesla would be where they are today in terms of producing ninety seven thousand vehicles reporter and or building a factory in China in ten months so the team is awesome and I think part of it is setting those very big goals so that the company can rally and get behind them and move forward and leave the whole industry forward Robert I want to thank you so much for your time and being so generous with us Ron I want to thank you for your time and joining us here extra baby it's been amazing having you here we really appreciate it you you.

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