China Boss Now Highest-Profile Tesla Exec Next To Elon Musk
Tesla Inc.’s China chief Tom Zhu has been promoted to take charge of the electric carmaker’s US assembly plants as well as sales operations in North America and Europe, according to an internal posting of reporting lines, Reuters revealed.
Photo Insert: Zhu’s appointment to a global role comes at a time when Musk has been distracted by his acquisition of Twitter.
The Tesla posting showed that Zhu’s title of vice president for Greater China had not changed and that he also retained his responsibilities as Tesla’s most senior executive for sales in the rest of Asia as of Tuesday.
The move makes Zhu the highest-profile executive at Tesla after Elon Musk, with oversight for deliveries in all of its major markets and all of its production outside the still-ramping Tesla plant in Germany.
Reuters reviewed the organizational chart that had been posted internally by Tesla and confirmed the change with two people who had seen it.
Zhu and a team of his reports were brought in by Tesla late last year to troubleshoot production issues in the United States, driving an expectation among his colleagues then that he was being groomed for a bigger role.
Zhu, who was born in China but now holds a New Zealand passport, joined Tesla in 2014. Before that he was a project manager at a company established by his MBA classmates at Duke University, advising Chinese contractors working on infrastructure projects in Africa.
Zhu’s appointment to a global role comes at a time when Musk has been distracted by his acquisition of Twitter and Tesla analysts and investors have urged action that would deepen the senior executive bench and allow him to focus on Tesla. Under Zhu, Tesla’s Shanghai plant rebounded strongly from Covid lockdowns in China.