Denholm succeeds Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk, who agreed to relinquish the chairmanship for three years in a settlement with the SEC stemming from bogus Tweets he made claiming to have a financing to take the electric auto maker private.
Denholm will be leaving her role as CFO and head of strategy at Australian telecom company Telstra after six months, Tesla said in a statement.
Denholm has been on Tesla's board since 2014 as an independent director, the company said. She previously served as CFO of Juniper networks and in a variety of finance management positions at Toyota.
Musk said in a statement that Denholm "has made significant contributions as a Tesla Board member over the past four years in helping us become a profitable company."
Shares of Tesla rose $7.10, or 2%, to close at $348.16 Wednesday in New York.