Shareholder Ron Baron: I don't know the new Tesla chair yet but I'm a 'fan of women' executives

  • The billionaire Baron Capital founder says he’s yet to meet the electric automaker’s new chair, Robyn Denholm, but he said he likes women executives.
  • “I don’t know her,” says Baron, adding he’s due next week to meet Denholm, who was elevated from independent director.
  • Denholm replaces co-founder and CEO Elon Musk as chair in a move mandated as part of the SEC settlement following his August take-private tweets.

Major Tesla shareholder Ron Baron told CNBC on Friday that he’s yet to meet meet the electric automaker’s new board chair, Robyn Denholm, but he said he likes women executives.

“I don’t know her,” said Baron in a “Squawk Box” interview from his annual investment conference at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. He said he’s due to meet Denholm next week.

Baron said he’s a “fan of women” in business. “I think they think differently as men.”

Tesla on Wednesday announced it elevated independent director Denholm to board chair, replacing co-founder Elon Musk in the role. Musk, who remains Tesla’s CEO, was mandated to give up the chairmanship as part of September’s settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission following his now-infamous tweets in August, in which he floated the idea of taking the company private.

During Thursday’s trading session, Tesla eclipsed $357 per share, topping the $356.77 price when Musk sent those tweets. Tesla shares were down as much as 26 percent at their near-term closing lows on Oct. 19.

Last month, in his first CNBC appearance since Musk’s erratic behavior over the summer, Baron told “Squawk Box” that he believes Tesla could be a $1 trillion company in revenue by 2030.

Baron reiterated that prediction on CNBC Friday, and added “maybe a $2 trillion in valuation” someday.

The billionaire Baron Capital founder said his average cost in acquiring his Tesla stake between 2014-2016 stands at $219 per share. Baron funds currently owns 1.7 million shares, worth nearly $600 million at Wednesday’s close of $351 per share.

Prior to settling with regulators, the SEC had charged Musk with making false and misleading statements in the Aug. 7 tweet about potentially taking Tesla private with “funding secured.” The idea was abandoned on Aug. 24.

This is a breaking news story. Check back shortly for updates.

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