It sounds like coming home. Last Thursday, as head of Tesla's board, Robin Dunholm grew up in a gas station owned by her parents in Milparra, a small Australian suburb of 4,000 people, about 20 km southwest of Sydney.
In the small family business she had a certain role to play: keeping the accounts. Early acquaintance with the numbers and calculations that led to a degree in economics, obtained at the University of New South Wales, at the age of 22 years.
Three years later, Robin Dunholm graduated with a degree in commerce and industrial relations from the University of Sydney. At the same time, the young Australian performs tasks as an accountant in Andersen, a firm specializing in corporate finance and consulting.
At the age of 26, Robin Dunholm landed her first job at Toyota, in the finance department, where she can reconcile two specialties: automotive accounts. After several roles of responsibility, she leaves the Japanese manufacturer after seven years. She will return to industry only 22 years later, in Tesla.
"Rusin has solid experience in the technology and vehicle industries," said Elon Musk, who is distinguished by the career path of his new team. Ten years of career at software company Sun Microsystems, six in the communications equipment company of Jennifer Networks, a year and a half in the Australian telecom company Telstra.
Still in leadership positions, Robin Dunholm seems to have an ideal profile for decision-making roles. It was a "driving force" in the reorganization of Jennifer Networks, which leads to record profits in 2015, said Andrew Penn, Telstra boss at the time of his recruitment.
Estimated by Alon Mosk
This beautiful knowledge of management should be an undeniable asset in his new mission: to channel Alon Musk. And if necessary, give him the direction to go, provided he had an agreement and support from the other eight council members beforehand.
"I think that forcing Ayalon to work with a foreigner was very difficult for obvious reasons," said Ross Garber, head of Kawasaki Wealth & Investment Management, which owns shares in Tesla. But Robin Dennholm, he's been known for four years. On the other hand, "he respects that and that's very important," said Ross Gerber.
Although she is valued by her partner, she is not one of her relatives. "It has a lot less connection with Elon Masak than other company executives," the newspaper reports. Which reinforces a certain independence of spirit and action.
The announcement of his appointment was surprising. Some analysts have intervened on James Murdoch, the son of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch and director of Tesla, better known to the general public.
But Robin Dunholm has a strong reputation among peers. California National Diversity has made it one of the 50 most powerful tech women. And she combined the rating of "Women Watch" by Global Telecoms Business Magazine in 2017.
"Among the current directors, it is a good choice," said Dieter Weisinger, head of the CtW Investment group, representing Tesla Solidarity and Pension Funds. For Robin Dunholm, his mission is simple: "Help Elon" and allow Tesla to achieve "sustainable profitability".
From the service station in Tesla, his goal remains the same: to ensure the proper maintenance of accounts.